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Kohler Recommends Approach to Sizing Data Center Engines

Kohler weighs in on engine sizing and emission control based on two sets of criteria. One is to insure adequate power is available and the other is to meet EPA emission limits, Kohler makes a case as to why specifying a continuous rating (as the Uptime Institute recommends) for generators in the data-center industry is unnecessary. First, consider that the main purpose of the ISO 8528-1 ratings standard is to classify the type of application for which a generator rating is to be used. In nearly every case, data centers are standby (emergency) applications. The generator is not the primary power source; it is used to back up a reliable utility, or in the case of Tier III and Tier IV data centers, multiple independent utilities. The only exceptions are areas where there are no utilities, and the generator is used as prime power. **********The second set of criteria determine the emission control requirements A stationary “emergency” application is where the generator set remains in one location for 12 months or longer, is the secondary power source when the utility (primary power source) fails, and annual maintenance and readiness testing is less than 100 hours. The term “emergency” refers to the use of the engine when an emergency occurs (utility fails). In virtually all cases, these applications will have a “standby” generator rating. Remember that standby-rated generators can run an unlimited number of hours with varying load during the utility outage. Stationary emergency applications in the U.S. require diesel engines that are EPA-certified to Tier 3 if their power output is between 50 BHP (40 kW) and 560 BHP (500 kW), or certified to Tier 2 if their power output is above 560 BHP (500 kW). A stationary “non-emergency” application is where the generator set is either the primary power source or a secondary power source connected to an unreliable utility with planned high hours of annual usage. Additionally, using it for peak shaving, interruptible rate, or any financial arrangement with a utility qualifies it as a non-emergency application. Non-emergency applications may use prime, limited running time or continuous ratings. Non-emergency applications in the U.S. require EPA-certified Tier 4 diesel engines, which are designed for lower emissions and are much more expensive than their stationary emergency counterparts at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels. A non-road application is where the generator set is in more than one location within a 12-month period. Typical applications are mobile, rental or containerized generator sets. Non-road applications may use prime, limited running time or continuous ratings. These applications require EPA-certified Tier 4 diesel engines.********** Todd Matte Manager - Corporate Accounts Project Management Group of Kohler was the author of this 2015 document.

Revision Date:  8/1/2016

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