Diesel Engine A Reliable and Popular Prime Mover

The extensive use of mechanical power is an outstanding attribute of human advancement. In earlier days the main source of power was the human himself. Subsequently, man has learned to use animal power, and later the wind and running water. Eventually, man has learned to transform energy from one form to another.

The machine which transforms energy into another form is called an engine.

What is an Engine?

An Engine is a device that transforms one form of energy into another form. Normally most engines convert thermal energy into mechanical energy and hence they are called Heat engines.

A Heat Engine is a device that transforms the chemical energy of a fuel into thermal energy and utilizes this thermal energy to perform useful work. (In a heat engine the thermal energy is converted to mechanical energy)

Heat engines are broadly classified as-

  1. Internal Combustion Engine (IC Engine)
  2. External Combustion Engine (EC Engine)

Heat engines are further classified into

  1. Rotary type
  2. Reciprocating type

External combustion engines are those in which combustion (burning of fuel) takes place outside the engine whereas in Internal combustion engines combustion (burning of fuel) takes place inside the engine.

The internal combustion (IC) engine has been the dominant prime mover in our society since its invention.

Its purpose is to generate rotating mechanical power from the chemical energy contained in the fuel and released through the combustion of the fuel inside the engine.

If you own a car that runs on gas or diesel, then you also own an internal combustion engine.


There are two types of internal combustion engines:

  1. Spark ignition- petrol engine
  2. Compression ignition- diesel engine.

A compression ignition engine is an internal combustion engine in which air is compressed to a temperature sufficiently high to ignite fuel injected into the cylinder where the combustion and expansion actuate a piston.

Amongst the various types of internal combustion engines, the diesel or compression-ignition engine is renowned for its high efficiency, reduced fuel consumption, and relatively low total gaseous emissions.

Diesel engines are internal combustion engines. This means fuel is burned inside the cylinder of the engine where the power is produced. This made diesel engines more efficient than steam-powered engines which are external combustion engines that burned fuel outside the cylinders of the engine.

What is Diesel Engine?

The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which air is compressed to a temperature sufficiently high to ignite fuel injected into the cylinder where the combustion and expansion actuate a piston.

Hence the diesel engine is also called a Compression Ignition engine, as the ignition of the fuel is caused by the high temperature due to the compression of air.

Diesel engines may be designed as either two-stroke or four-stroke cycles. The four-stroke diesel engine is an internal combustion (IC) engine in which the piston completes four separate strokes while turning a crankshaft. A stroke refers to the full travel of the piston in the cylinder, in either direction.

The diesel engine is an outgrowth of the internal combustion engine. Diesel engines are powerful, require less maintenance, and use less highly refined fuel than gasoline engines. These factors make them less expensive, and they have become the engine of choice for transportation viz. railways, large boats and small ships, and trucks.

since only the air is compressed in the internal combustion engine, it requires less diesel. So, it scores high on fuel efficiency. Also, the fuel wastage is lesser when compared to the other fuel engines. For the same kW of power produced, a diesel engine’s fuel cost is lower than the gasoline engine.

Diesel engines are the most efficient source of power available today. It has about twice the life of comparable petrol models.

Diesel engines are also popularly used for electrical power generation.

The Diesel engine used for generating electrical energy (Power) is a 4-stroke, Reciprocating, Compression Ignition (CI), Internal Combustion (IC) Engine.

History of Diesel Engine

The diesel engine has a rich history. The invention of the diesel engine goes way back – all the way to the 1890s. Till the 1870s, steam engines were used for supplying power to factories and railway trains.

Throughout the nineteenth century, various inventors patented prototype internal combustion engines. The first to create a commercially successful engine was the Belgian inventor Etienne Lenoir. His engine used a mixture of coal and gas and had a two-stroke cycle. In 1862, Lenoir created the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine.

It was German inventor Nikolaus Otto who created the first internal combustion engine that was a viable alternative to the steam engine. In 1876, he built an engine with a four-stroke cycle, meaning there were four strokes of the piston for each ignition. Otto’s engine was much more efficient than Lenoir’s because it compressed the air and fuel before igniting them.

In 1893 Rudolf Diesel created the internal combustion engine that worked with heated fuels. He concluded that the use of a petroleum fuel that later came to be known as Diesel leads to higher fuel efficiency.

In the 1890s, a German inventor, Rudolf Diesel patented his invention of an efficient, slow-burning, compression ignition, internal combustion engine. The original cycle proposed by Rudolf Diesel was a constant temperature cycle. In later years Diesel realized his original cycle would not work and he adopted the constant pressure cycle, which is known as the Diesel cycle.

Rudolph Diesel 1858- 1913

The diesel engine owes its roots mainly to Rudolph Diesel 

The compression ignition engine was invented by Rudolf Diesel and therefore they are known as Diesel engines, interestingly the fuel used was a by-product of extracting paraffin and kerosene from crude oil, also named after Rudolf Diesel in 1894.

Rudolph Diesel intended his engine to replace the steam engine as the primary power source for industry. As such diesel engines in the late 19th- and early 20th centuries used the same basic layout and form as industrial steam engines, with long-bore cylinders, external valve gear, and an open crankshaft connected to a large flywheel. Smaller engines would be built with vertical cylinders, whilst most medium- and large-sized industrial engines were built with horizontal cylinders, just as steam engines had been. Engines could be built with more than one cylinder in both cases. The largest early diesel engine resembled the triple-expansion reciprocating engine steam engine, being tens of feet high with vertical cylinders arranged in a line. These early engines ran at very slow speeds- partly due to the limitations of their air-blast injector equipment and partly so they would be compatible with most of the industrial equipment designed for steam engines- speed ranges of between 100 and 300 RPM were common.

Modern diesel engines

Modern diesel engines have improved upon Rudolf Diesel’s original design, but they’re still based on the same concept. With the advancements throughout the years, today’s compression-ignition diesel engines are essential to a multitude of industries, and many of them have high efficiencies.
There are two classes of diesel and gasoline engines, two-stroke, and four-stroke. Most diesel engines generally use the four-stroke cycle, with some larger diesel engines operating on the two-stroke cycle, mainly the huge engines in ships. Most modern locomotives use a two-stroke diesel mated to a generator, which produces current to drive electric motors, eliminating the need for a transmission.

By the 1930s, it was found easier and more reliable to fit turbochargers to the engines, when turbocharger technology improved in the 1960s this was found to be a much more reliable and simple way of extracting more power.

R Diesel received patents for his designs during the 1890s. The first diesel engine prototype was built in 1893, though the first engine test was unsuccessful, so it was back to the drawing board.

Diesel’s successful third test engine 1897 

Diesel’s third test engine used in the successful 1897 acceptance test 1 cylinder, four-stroke, water-cooled, air injection of fuel
Output: 14.7 kW (20 hp)
Fuel consumption: 317 g/kWh (238 g/hp-hr)
Efficiency: 26.2%
Number of revolutions: 172 min-1
Displacement volume: 19.6 L
Bore: 250 mm
Stroke: 400 mm

In today’s world, where fuel prices are increasing because of increasing demand and diminishing supply, you need to choose a cost-effective fuel to meet your needs.

Thanks to the invention of Rudolph Diesel, the diesel engine has proved to be extremely efficient and cost-effective.

diesel fuel has a higher energy density, i.e., more energy can be extracted from diesel as compared with the same volume of gasoline.

diesel engines are attracting greater attention due to their higher efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The diesel engine is most popularly used in trucks, trains, and ships for transportation of material worldwide. The construction, farming, and military equipment are also powered by Diesel engines.

A diesel engine compresses only air, and the ratio can be much higher. A diesel engine compresses at the ratio of 14:1 up to 25:1.

High compression ratios result in greater expansion of gases in the cylinder following combustion. Therefore, a higher percentage of fuel energy is converted into power.

The diesel engines are much more efficient and preferable as they are more rugged and reliable.

Classification of Diesel engines

Diesel engines can be classified into a variety of groups with engines in each group having something in common with each other. The diesel engines are classified based on:


  1. Automotive
    1. Car
    2. Truck / Bus
    3. Off-highway
  2. Locomotive
  3. Marine
    1. Cargo and Cruise ships
    2. Trawlers
  4. Power Generation
    1. Domestic
    2. Industrial
    3. Events
  5. Agriculture
    1. Tractor
    2. Pump
  6. Earthmoving
    1. Dumper
    2. Dozer
    3. Mining equipment

Horsepower (Output)-

  1. Low Horsepower
  2. Medium Horsepower
  3. High Horsepower

Operating Speed-

  1. Slow speed
  2. Medium speed
  3. High speed

Operating Cycle-

  1. Two Stroke
  2. Four Stroke

Cooling System-

  1. Air Cooled
  2. Water / Liquid Cooled

Aspiration (Engine Breathing)-

  1. Naturally Aspirated (NA)
  2. Turbocharged
  3. Aftercooled
  4. Turbocharged Aftercooled

Cylinder Arrangement-

  1. Horizontal
  2. Vertical
  3. Single Cylinder
  4. Multi-Cylinder
    1. Inline
    2. VEE
    3. Radial
    4. Opposed piston

Type of Ignition-

  1. Compressed Ignition (CI)
  2. Spark ignition (SI)

The most basic method of classification is by the number of reciprocating strokes taken to accomplish one complete cycle. Either 2 strokes or 4 strokes according to the basic engine design.

Most modern diesel engines operate on a four-stroke cycle, with four-piston strokes for

  1. Suction, (Intake)
  2. Compression
  3. Power
  4. Exhaust
Working of a Four-stroke Diesel Engine

The power generation process in a four-stroke diesel engine is also divided into four parts.
Each part is known as a piston stroke. In an IC engine, stroke is referred to the maximum distance travelled by the piston in a single direction. The piston is free to move only upward and downward direction. In a four-stroke engine, the piston moves two times up and down and the crankshaft moves two complete revolutions to complete the four-piston cycle. These are suction stroke, compression stroke, expansion stroke, and exhaust stroke.

In the 4-stroke cycle diesel engine, each cylinder produces power on every other downward stroke of the piston. The sequence of events to complete one cycle is as follows.

  1. Intake/Suction stroke
  2. Compression stroke
  3. Power stroke
  4. Exhaust stroke



Intake / Suction stroke:

In the suction stroke or intake stroke of a diesel engine, the piston moves from the top end of the cylinder to the bottom end of the cylinder, and simultaneously inlet valve opens. At this time air at atmospheric pressure is drawn inside the cylinder through the inlet valve. The inlet valve remains open until the piston reaches the lower end of the cylinder, and then the inlet valve closes and seals the upper end of the cylinder.

Compression stroke:

After the piston passes the bottom end of the cylinder, it starts moving up. Both valves are closed, and the cylinder is sealed at that time. The piston moves upward. This movement of the piston compresses the air into a small space between the top of the piston and the cylinder head. The air is compressed into 1/22 or less of its original volume. Due to this compression, high pressure and temperature are generated inside the cylinder. Both the inlet and exhaust valves do not open during any part of this stroke. At the end of the compression stroke, the piston is at the top end of the cylinder.

 Power stroke:

At the end of the compression stroke when the piston is at the top end of the cylinder, a metered quantity of diesel is injected into the cylinder by the injector. The heat of compressed air ignites the diesel fuel and generates high pressure which pushes down the piston. The connecting rod carries this force to the crankshaft. At the end of the power stroke, the piston reaches the bottom end of the cylinder.

 Exhaust stroke:

At the end of the power stroke when the piston reaches the bottom end of the cylinder, the exhaust valve opens, and the burnt gases inside the cylinder escape through the exhaust port, and the piston moves to the top end of the cylinder.

At the end of the exhaust stroke, all the burnt gases escape, and the exhaust valve closes and again intake valve opens, and the above process continues.

Schematic diagram of four-stroke of Diesel Engine

Some of the terms used with Diesel Engine:

Top Dead Center (TDC): The uppermost point of the piston travel in an engine cylinder.

Bottom Dead Center (BDC): The lowest point of the piston travel in an engine cylinder.

Bore: The diameter of the cylinder. Bore is expressed as the piston sectional area over which cylinder pressures act.

Stroke: The distance through which a piston travels from BDC to TDC.

Swept Volume: The volume displaced by the piston in the cylinder as it moves from BDC to TDC. It can be calculated if bore and stroke are known

Engine Displacement: The swept volume of all the engine cylinders expressed in Cubic inches or Cubic cm or Liters.

 Displacement: Bore X Bore X Stroke X 0.7854 X Number of cylinders.

Compression Ratio: A measure of the cylinder volume when the piston is at BDC versus the cylinder volume when the piston is at TDC. Compression ratios in Diesel engines fall between 14:1 and 24:1

The compression ratio compares the volume of air in a cylinder before compression with its volume after compression.

A 16:1 compression ratio means air is squeezed into 1/16 of the space at the top of the stroke that it occupied at the bottom of the stroke.

Diesel engines operate at higher compression ratios than petrol engines.

The higher the compression ratio, the greater the efficiency.

Why are high compression ratio engines more efficient?

  • High compression ratios result in greater expansion of gases in the cylinder following combustion.
  • Therefore, a higher percentage of fuel energy is converted into power.

Since power is developed during only one stroke, the single-cylinder four-stroke engine has a low degree of uniformity. Smoother running is obtained with multi-cylinder engines because the cranks are staggered about one another on the crankshaft.

The diesel engines can contain any number of cylinders with numbers between one and twelve being common,

Normally, banks of cylinders are used in multiples of two, although any number of cylinders can be used as long as the load on the crankshaft is counterbalanced to prevent excessive vibration. The inline-6 is the most popular in medium- to heavy-duty engines, though the V8 and straight-4 are also common.

Small-capacity engines generally considered to be those below 5 liters in capacity are generally 4- or 6-cylinder types, with the 4-cylinder being the most common type found in automotive uses. Diesel engines for smaller plant machinery, boats, tractors, generators, and pumps maybe 4-, 3-, or 2-cylinder types, with the single-cylinder diesel engine remaining for light stationary work.

There are three basic types of diesel engines based on horsepower—low, medium, and high horsepower (LHP, MHP, and HHP).

The LHP engines are used in automobiles, light trucks, agricultural and construction applications and as small stationary electrical-power generators, and as mechanical drives. They are typically direct-injection, in-line, four-cylinder engines. Many are turbocharged with after coolers.

Medium horsepower engines are used in heavy-duty trucks and electrical power generators. They are usually direct injection, in-line, six-cylinder turbocharged, and after-cooled engines. Some V-8 and V-12 engines also belong to this size group.

High-horsepower diesel engines are used for marine, locomotive, and mechanical drive applications, and electrical power generation. In most cases, they are direct injection, turbocharged, and after cool.

Diesel engines are often turbocharged and after cooled. The addition of a turbocharger and an after cooler can enhance the performance of a diesel engine in terms of both power and efficiency.

The basic components of diesel engine
  • Cylinder block
  • Cylinder Head
  • Crankshaft
  • Camshaft
  • Piston
  • Connecting rod
  • Turbocharger
  • Aftercooler
  • Fuel system
  • Lubricating system
  • Cooling system
  • Exhaust system
  • Valve arrangements
  • Engine starting system
Engine operating systems

Engine Fuel System-The Fuel system stores and distributes the engine’s fuel. Fuel is the most important thing to make the engine run. In an engine, fuel reaches the cylinder bore through the following path:

Fuel tank → Water separator → Feed pump → Filter → Injection pump → Injector nozzle → Cylinder 

The fuel tank is for storing fuel. Generally, it is made of sheet metal. Most fuel tanks have a fuel gauge to check the fuel level and a drain plug to drain fuel.

The water separator is used for separating dirt and water from the fuel. 

The feed pump is used to feed fuel to the filter and injection pump.

The fuel system must pressurize the fuel to open the nozzle, to inject fuel into the combustion chamber.

The injector nozzle injects fuel into the combustion chamber. The injector nozzle atomizes fuel, which is the breaking up of fuel into small particles.

Engine Lubrication System – Since the Diesel engine comprises many moving parts, it requires lubrication to ensure durability and smooth operations for a long period. The diesel engine is lubricated by oil stored in an engine oil sump. The lubricating system not only protects from friction but also aids in the cooling of the rotating parts. It is important to check the level of lubricating oil every 8 hours of engine operation and change the lubricating oil every 500 hours of DG Set operation or as specified by the engine manufacturer.

Engine Exhaust System- Exhaust gases flow through the following path in an engine:

Cylinder → Exhaust valve → Exhaust port → Exhaust manifold → Turbocharger → Muffler

To reduce engine noise, the exhaust is passed through the muffler. Exhaust gases have a higher pressure than the atmosphere; if these gases were to be released directly into the atmosphere, a loud, unpleasant noise would sound, like the sound of firing a gun. The muffler is used to cool the exhaust gases.

Engine Starting system-A diesel engine requires a battery-operated small electrical motor to help put it into action.

Generally, Battery operated starting system is used for starting D G Set.

It consists of-

  • Battery-operated Starting motor
  • Battery Charger / Battery charging Alternator
  • Battery

A pack of batteries is used to rotate the starter motor.

The starter motor is used for rotating the flywheel. A starter motor receives its power supply from the battery. The pinion of the starter motor engages with the teeth of a flywheel ring and rotates, which then rotates the crankshaft of the Diesel engine. This rotation of the crankshaft leads to the movement of pistons in the cylinders. The piston will suck air and fuel into the combustion chamber, which causes the engine to start. After reaching a specific rpm, the starter motor withdraws its pinion from the flywheel.

The alternator is mounted on the engine and includes a pulley. The belt is used to drive the shaft of the alternator. The main job of the alternator is to charge the batteries. In some cases, the static battery charger is used in place of the charging alternator.

Engine Cooling System- Diesel engines require a cooling system because the combustion of diesel takes place inside the engine cylinder. All the heat produced by the combustion of fuel in the engine cylinders is not converted into useful power at the crankshaft. About 30% of the heat is converted into mechanical work. About 40% goes off through the exhaust. The remaining 30% is waste heat.

The method of removing away the excess heat from the engine cylinder is called a cooling system.

There are many purposes for cooling an engine, including: 

1) To maintain an optimal temperature for efficient work in all conditions.

2) To avoid excess heat and to protect engine components including cylinders, cylinder heads, pistons, and valves.

3) To maintain the lubricating property of the oil. 

Cooling systems for diesel engines are classified:

  1. Air cooling system
  2. Water cooling system

 Air cooling system- Air-cooling systems are commonly used for standby & portable diesel engine applications in lower kW ratings and use the circulation of air to bring down the temperature by drawing cool air from the atmosphere, then blowing it internally across different parts of the diesel engine.

The heat is dissipated directly to the atmospheric air by conduction through the cylinder walls. To increase, the rate of cooling, the outer surface area of the cylinder block and cylinder head is increased by providing radiating metal fins and flanges. In bigger units, fans are provided to circulate the air around the cylinder walls and cylinder head. This is a commonly employed method that helps prevent the generator from overheating.
Air-cooled diesel engines are very noisy, as the fan generates noise and blows air across the engine.

Water Cooling System-As the name suggests, the cooling is done by circulating water through the engine water passage by an engine-driven pump.

The water-cooling system is used in the bigger diesel engines. In this system, the water is circulated through water jackets around each of the combustion chambers, and cylinders, by an engine-driven pump.

The water is kept continuously in motion by an engine-driven centrifugal pump After passing through the engine jackets in the block and cylinder heads, the hot water is passed through the radiator, and water is cooled by the air blown drawn by the radiator fan. The radiator fan is driven by the engine crankshaft pulley. The cooled water is again circulated through diesel engine water passages with the help of a water pump. It is a closed-loop system.

The most common Engine configuration has a base-frame mounted radiator and an engine-driven fan.

The base frame mounted radiator cooling system is popularly used by DG set manufacturers and is the most reliable and cost-effective cooling system.

An alternate method for cooling is a base frame mounted liquid to the liquid heat exchanger with a cooling tower, remote radiator, and a remote heat exchanger.

Air Intake System-A diesel engine requires air for the combustion of fuel, the air entering the engine must be clean, free of debris, and as cool as possible.

Air intake systems vary for different engine manufacturers but are usually of two types, wet or dry.

In a wet filter intake system, the air is sucked through housing that holds a bath of oil that removes the dirt in the air. The air then flows through a screen-type material to ensure any entrained oil is removed from the air.

In a dry filter system, paper, cloth, or a metal screen material is used to catch and trap dirt before it enters the engine. Today’s diesel engines mostly use dry-type air cleaners.

In addition to cleaning the air, the intake system is usually designed to intake fresh air to provide the engine with a supply of clean and cool air.

The reason for ensuring that the air supply is as cool as possible is that cool air is denser than hot air. Per unit volume, cool air has more oxygen than hot air. Thus, cool air provides more oxygen per cylinder charge than less dense, hot air. More oxygen means a more efficient fuel burn and more power.

After being filtered, the air is routed into the engine’s intake manifold. The manifold is the component that directs the fresh air to each of the engine’s intake valves or ports. If the engine is turbocharged, the fresh air will be compressed with a blower and possibly cooled before entering the intake manifold. The intake system also serves to reduce airflow noise.

Managing the supply of the intake charge up to the start of combustion is a critical aspect of modern engines and can impact emissions, performance, and fuel economy. 

Turbocharger- The engine’s exhaust gasses are forced through a turbine (impeller), which rotates and is connected to a second impeller located in the fresh air intake system. The impeller in the fresh air intake system compresses the fresh air.

Compressed air serves two functions. First, it increases the engine’s available power by increasing the maximum amount of air (oxygen) that is forced into each cylinder.

This allows more fuel to be injected and more power to be produced by the engine. The second function is to increase intake pressure. This improves the scavenging of the exhaust gasses out of the cylinder.

Aftercooler- While Turbochargers increase charge air density; they also increase the temperature of the air in the intake manifold.

The main function of the aftercooler is to cool the air compressed by the turbocharger before it enters the engine, eventually reducing it to a lower temperature and allowing more air to enter this allows more fuel to be injected and more power to be produced by the engine.

It sits between the turbocharger and the engine and looks like a small Heat Exchanger.

In modern engines, it is also important to ensure the temperature of charge-air does not become excessive. Excessive temperatures can lead to reduced charge air density and higher combustion temperatures which can affect engine torque, power, and emissions.

Increasing demand for improvements in fuel economy and exhaust emissions has made the aftercooler an important component of most modern turbocharged engines.

The turbochargers and aftercoolers are commonly found on high-power four-stroke engines.

Diesel Engines are a workhorse. That’s why you find them powering heavy-duty trucks, buses, tractors, trains, large ships, bulldozers, cranes, and other construction equipment. In the past, diesel engines were dirty and sluggish, smelly, and loud. That image doesn’t apply to today’s diesel engines, they are more fuel-efficient, more flexible in the fuels they can use, and also much cleaner in emissions.

Today’s direct-injection diesel engines are more rugged, powerful, durable, and reliable than gasoline engines, and use fuel much more efficiently, as well.

Modern diesel engines have overcome the disadvantages of earlier models of higher noise and maintenance costs.  They are now quiet and require less maintenance.

Older diesel engines mixed fuel and air in a precombustion chamber before injecting it into a cylinder. The mixing and injection steps were controlled mechanically, which made it very difficult to tailor the fuel-air mixture to changing engine conditions. This led to incomplete fuel combustion, particularly at low speeds. As a result, fuel was wasted, and exhaust emissions were relatively high.

Today’s diesel injects fuel directly into an engine’s cylinders using tiny computers to precisely deliver the right amount of fuel the instant it is needed. All functions in a modern diesel engine are controlled by an electronic control module that communicates with the sensors placed at strategic locations throughout the engine to monitor everything from engine speed to coolant and oil temperatures and even piston position.

Electronic control ensures that fuel burns more thoroughly, delivering more power, greater fuel economy, and fewer emissions than older diesel engines. Modern direct-injection diesel engines produce low amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons. Emissions of reactive nitrogen compounds (commonly spoken of as NOx) and particulate matter (PM) have been reduced by over 90 percent since 1980, as well. Nevertheless, NOx and PM emissions remain at relatively high levels. NOx contributes to acid rain and smog, while adverse health effects have been associated with exposure to high PM amounts.

Over the years, research and development have helped manufacturers reduce Diesel Engine emissions, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) by more than 99% to comply with Global emissions standards.

New developments have reduced the size and weight of diesel engines while increasing reliability and fuel economy.

Applications & Uses of Diesel Engines

Diesel engines are commonly used as mechanical engines, power generators, and mobile drives. They find widespread use in locomotives, construction equipment, automobiles, and countless industrial applications.

Industrial diesel engines and diesel-powered generators have construction, marine, mining, hospital, forestry, telecommunications, underground, and agricultural applications, just to name a few. Power generation for prime or standby backup power is the major application of today’s diesel generators.  

Diesel-powered generators, or electrical generator sets, are used in countless industrial and commercial establishments. The generators can be used for small loads, such as in homes, as well as for larger loads like industrial plants, hospitals, and commercial buildings. They can either be prime power sources or standby/backup power sources.

Diesel engines are sometimes found within commercial passenger cars. More frequently, diesel engines power large, heavy industrial vehicles that benefit from the additional power and torque. These applications include:

  • Railroad locomotives
  • Marine vehicles
  • Construction vehicles
  • Farming equipment
  • Heavy-duty trucks

Diesel engines are also used to power DG sets for prime power generation, as well as for emergency backup power. Applications include:

  • Mining generators for excavating machinery and drills
  • Backup generators in hospitals
  • Oil and gas generators for powering remote drills
  • Portable generators for military personnel
  • Lighting generators for construction crews

Some industries that make heavy use of diesel – whether in the form of diesel-powered vehicle engines or generator engines – include the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Marine
  • Mining
  • Transportation

In all these fields, diesel provides a reliable, high-performance option for generating power exactly where and when it is needed the most.


In this blog post, we have walked you through the basics of Diesel engines.
Now that you have become familiar with what is, Diesel Engine, its important parts, and how it works, you’re ready to handle any query on Diesel Engine that comes your way.

A diesel engine is an internal-combustion heat engine in which air is compressed to a sufficiently high temperature to ignite diesel fuel injected into the cylinder, where combustion and expansion actuate a piston. It converts the chemical energy stored in the fuel into mechanical energy, which can be used to power generators, freight trucks, large tractors, locomotives, and marine vessels.

You have also understood, the top uses of diesel engines. Each application shows just how useful the equipment is and what it can do for you.

If you require any further information on diesel engines, please send us an email at sg@suhasghatnekar.com, or please reach out to us at www.sgpowerplus.com

Additionally, you can fill out our Contact Form with any questions or inquiries and we will get right back to you.

Diesel fuel is a resource that comes with a cost. We should value it as a resource that has to be used carefully and wisely.

In this post, we have tried to compile all freely available information on various internet sites, so ultimately you do not need to spend your time searching for it.

Now next in the series on Power Generation we will post about the Alternators.

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Suhas Ghatnekar
Suhas Ghatnekar

The author is an Electrical engineer from the National Institute of Technology Rourkela India, an enterprising techno-commercial professional in the
field of diesel engines and diesel generators.

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