In many fields its hard to know what to choose – should you hire or buy. As an expert in the diesel generator market, running the UK based Welland Power building diesel powered generators, Its an interesting time – particularly for hire companies who have been impacted with the new generator European stage V regulations for emissions on mobile equipment. These new engines, while impressive in their emissions from the tailpipe are hugely more expensive than the previous Stage IIIB, double in many cases.
This changes the balance in Europe – for fixed applications there is no need to comply with this hire tier. For rare standby use the emissions aren’t that relevant to the environment. The higher costs incurred by the hire companies are certainly going to be passed on. Its not only these costs, its also the costs of maintenance and operator error – just a small amount of diesel in the AdBlue tanks will mean an entirely new after treatment system – costing many thousands of pounds. Its also something else to fail – if it fails the engine will stop and it will require attention or run in ‘limp’ mode.
So now has probably come at a good time to consider buying – even if you don’t buy new. Older machines again avoid the requirement to meet the emissions regulations, as long as they are already in the EU market. Many engine manufacturers like Perkins for generators are only just bringing the first Stage V to the market, others like Baudouin aren’t yet planning a release.
So just how important it Stage V? For the reduction of particulates its really great news – but in Europe most generators are barely running, so the benefits will be extremely limited. For CO2 emissions the news is less welcome – the new emissions tier uses more fuel and actually produces more CO2 per kW.
For international markets most engines are fuel rather than emissions optimised. This is rather perverse given the current focus on reducing global warming by the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Again, however the downside is limited by the running hours.
Its clear that policy makes are going to have to decide on their priorities – while cleaner air is of benefit, global warming needs to be stopped. The generator market is one area however where there aren’t really viable alternatives – batteries need mains to be recharged and when the mains is gone for extended periods, they are of no use. Its probably the one market you could argue should be exempt – in fact for fixed installs this is the case, but the requirement to make emissions regulations beyond the Stage IIIB standard seems to be weak.
Sceptics will claim that the key driver of emissions legislation is keeping cheaper Chinese products out of the market – this will only work for so long and many suppliers will launch their Stage 5 products in 2020.
Cover photo credit: Chris Baird / Flickr