Are you on a tight budget but in need of a new generator? Wondering what your options are?
Let’s say you require a 65kW generator, which can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000. That’s quite a significant amount of money. However, it’s important to note that the cost of the generator itself is not the only factor to consider. In fact, the cost of fuel over the lifetime of the generator can far outweigh the initial purchase price. On average, a generator at 75% load burns around 4 gallons of diesel per hour, and with fuel averaging $5.00 per gallon, the lifetime fuel cost can reach a staggering $800,000. So, how can you reduce the overall cost of ownership?
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Minimize usage: If it will fit in the boat, consider an inverter with battery storage so the generator only runs when it is at peak efficiency. This allows the generator to run only when it’s at its peak efficiency, resulting in fuel and maintenance cost savings of up to 40%. You can buy a lot of batteries and inverters for $320,000. Not to mention, you’ll be spared from the noise and it will extend the generator’s lifespan.
- Choose a fuel-efficient diesel engine: Most modern diesel engines are very similar in grams/kW. Be sure to compare different options closely, while avoiding any subpar choices.
- Focus on generator efficiency: One commonly overlooked aspect is the efficiency of the generator’s conversion from mechanical horsepower to electricity. Marine generator ends can range from 82% to 96% in efficiency. The design and level of electrical resistance in the windings play a significant role. Cheaper options may seem tempting, but keep in mind that a potential 10% loss in efficiency could result in unnecessary fuel expenses amounting to $80,000.
I have been involved in the engineering and design of our MER/BOLLARD™ generators for more than 40 years. When I started in this business all the generators were heavily wound & highly efficient. They used a lot of copper and ran at low temperatures. They had to because the insulation used at that time literally could not take the heat. Over the years science has created plastic polymers used in winding insulation that can resist higher and higher temperatures. Copper is expensive and plastic is relatively cheap. As a result, stiff competition among marine generator manufacturers has caused them to use better plastic and less copper. The result of those “improvements” in insulation are generators that can run and last at higher temperatures. But as temperatures rise – efficiency falls as does motor starting capability.
For example, a modern generator end today might carry a continuous rating of 65kW at 125C/40C ambient. That converts to a total temperature of 329 degrees F. At that temperature, the winding efficiency is very poor, and the radiant heat is discharged to the engine room raising engine intake temperatures and causing even further loss of efficiency.
At MER, our generators are crafted with high-quality winding insulation that can withstand higher temperatures. While this may add a slightly higher cost due to the copper content, it offers substantial savings in terms of fuel expenses, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, the heavier windings contribute to better motor starting capability, which is crucial for many commercial applications.
Remember, “Only a rich man can afford cheap tools.” So, do yourself a favor and invest a little extra to purchase a Bollard Marine Generator. We have meticulously crunched the numbers and conducted thorough engineering to ensure that you save significantly on both fuel and maintenance costs. Don’t be fooled by the allure of cheaper options; they often come with compromises. Trust us, you won’t find yourself regretting your decision ten years down the line.
Explore our line of BOLLARD Marine Generators