Building Operating Management

Is A Hybrid Onsite Power Generation System In Your Future?

A hybrid onsite power generation system could have significant environmental benefits.

Given the increasing challenges of getting permits and finding suitable locations for diesel or gas backup generators, will vendors introduce a version of an electric or hybrid vehicle power supply (short of the drive train) that can replace backup generators, and maybe even uninterruptible power supply systems to some extent, and also provide peak shifting? 

onsite generator

A few hours of building operation from batteries and inverters is now feasible. Battery/inverter packs that can now accelerate a car (or truck or bus; even an airplane) should be capable of providing stiff enough power to start a chiller fronted by a variable speed drive.

Coupling a battery/charger/inverter system with a much smaller engine (similar to today’s hybrid electric vehicles) that can charge batteries while running at a high, continuous, and efficient load, and not needing to be a stiff source, would provide a significant environmental improvement over today’s technology. It could become easier to fulfill goals of installing backup power for life-safety and high reliability, and also for energy cost and carbon reduction with the same investment.

Michael Fluegeman (, PE, is director of engineering and principal, critical facilities, for PlanNet, an independent professional services firm that provides advisory, design, project management, and construction services supporting critical IT infrastructure.


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  posted on 12/28/2018   Article Use Policy