You have done your due diligence, analyzed your loads, talked to your friends and neighbors. You have selected the generator set for your commercial vessel. But the selection process isn’t done yet. Installation must be considered. Among the most frequent service issues encountered relate to cooling and fuel systems. In the commercial waterways market, keel cooling systems are used almost exclusively. Heat exchangers and seawater pumps are to be avoided because of the likelihood that in-water abrasives (sand and silt) and fouling materials will plug water strainers and damage the pumps.
It is important the plumbing to the keel cooler is arranged to self-vent, can be easily filled and drained, and that the system includes a properly sized expansion tank. If the cooler is based on surface channels, it must be adequately sized for the worst possible operating conditions. For example: if the cooler is located on the side of the vessel and is held up against another hull or bulkhead, the generator engine must not overheat and shutdown. Proper coolant must be used, and service intervals must be followed, to avoid possible corrosion and freeze damage.
To ensure proper working condition, each generator set must have its own dedicated fuel supply and return lines to the tank, as well as progressive filtration. Use a coarse (30 micron) duplex pre-filter before the engine mounted final filters. Each generator set should also have its own dedicated cooling system, exhaust system and starting batteries (if it is an electric start application). Multiple redundant gensets are common to minimize downtime.
When designing the engine room, it is wise to ensure adequate space for standard generator service and maintenance requirements. When selecting a generator, therefore, it is helpful to choose one that has major service points on a single side. Make sure that ample space is available above and around the generator set to allow access for potential overhauls and equipment replacement.
If the generator is to be installed with a PTO, ensure that the base and brackets are strong enough to support the power take-off hardware without damaging it.
Interested in learning more about the state of the art in marine power technology? Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.