CleanAIR Systems

Diesel emergency generators made `greener` using emissions control technology


Source: CleanAIR Systems

In today’s “green” economy, there’s a dirty little secret hiding behind many hospitals, colleges and data storage centers. It’s the diesel emergency generator.

Belching soot, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide, diesel exhaust created by back-up generators is a proven cause of cardiovascular and pulmonary health problems. The National Air Toxics Assessment estimates the cancer risk from exposure to diesel emissions is ten times higher than the combined cancer risk from all other hazardous air pollutants. Diesel emissions also contribute to atmospheric haze, smog, acid rain and global climate change.

Although a necessity when the power grid fails to deliver, industrial diesel generators create an unhealthy situation, particularly when operated next to hospitals and schools. Back-up generators are also a little-known “ungreen” reality of today’s giant data storage facilities.

When sooty generator emissions are clouding the horizon, there is a solution. Turning brown emissions “green” can be done with a big shiny, stainless steel box developed by CleanAIR Systems. When attached to an emergency generator, brown smoke and toxic emissions are almost eliminated.

What’s in this mysterious box that makes emissions disappear? Is it all just smoke and mirrors? Hardly. The answer can be found in multiple self-regenerating diesel particulate filters enclosed in a sleek, stainless steel, ultra-quiet silencer shell manufactured by CleanAIR Systems, a leader in emissions control technology. The CleanAIR PERMIT Filter/Silencer system dramatically reduces dirty soot (particulate matter) from generator exhaust by more than 85%. The amount of smelly hydrocarbons and deadly carbon monoxide also plunges by 99%.

How many emergency generators are in use pumping toxic emissions into our atmosphere? Taking into account that the majority of hospitals, colleges and data centers require back-up power to operate in case of a power failure, consider these statistics:
• According to the American Hospital Association, there are over 5,700 registered U.S. hospitals. Critical care facilities rely heavily on back-up generators in the event of a power outage.
• The Association of American Colleges and Universities says there are over 2,600 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. And the American Association of Community Colleges lists 1,195 community colleges. Most colleges have at least one emergency generator (and some have several) on campus to keep buildings up and running in case of a blackout.
• AFCOM (Association for Computer Operations Management) counts 3,600 of the world’s largest data storage centers as members, representing every major industry. Back-up generators are a critical element of every data storage facility in order not to loose crucial data when the power goes out.

When other commercial and public facilities such as mining operations, semiconductors, and credit card companies are included in the count, there are an estimated 100,000 industrial standby generators currently operating in the United States alone.

What’s being done to control emissions on thousands of emergency generators? In California, air quality regulations for emergency generators are stringent and well enforced, many times requiring emissions control technology such as CleanAIR’s Filter/Silencer to be installed by the facility, especially if a generator is in operation within the vicinity of a school. But regulations in other parts of the country have more leeway, allowing many emergency generators to be operated without air pollution controls.

With thousands of large, emergency generators spewing harmful air pollution into our environment, maybe it’s time we clean up our dirty little secret.

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