Diesel and Gas Powered Generators: What is the difference?

The two most common generator types on the market are diesel engine powered generators and those using gas powered engines.

Apart from the fuel powering them, they have other distinctive qualities which make them more or less adequate according to the use we want to give them.

Let’s see what they are.

Diesel generators

The reliability of a classic

For quite a long time, diesel engine generators have been a standard in the market. Their good reputation was the result of a great flexibility of application, both in industrial and household areas, as well as their robustness and reliability.

This type of generator may be used as a main power supply, as well as for co-generation or emergency applications. They are fully autonomous and may, therefore, function in places which have absolutely no power-supplying networks.

What advantages have made them so popular?

  • They are more easily disassembled and installed than gas units, making their installation wherever needed a simpler task, while also using a fuel which is easily accessible and more economical than gasoline.
  • They are robust and sustainable, capable of ensuring many hours of yearly operation.
  • Diesel fuel gives high efficiency to the equipment using it because it burns at a much higher temperature than gasoline.
  • Diesel fuel is also very safe because it is less flammable than other types of fuel.

The main disadvantage of this type of generator, as in the case of any machinery which includes a diesel engine, is that it causes high levels of polluting gas emissions. Therefore, the present day diesel generators incorporate an additional antiparticle filtration system that ensures its conformity with the legislation in force.

Natural gas powered generators

Clean and economical energy

Gas engine generators have gained much popularity due to their great reliability, cost efficiency and sustainability.

This type of generator can be used as a primary power source, in co-generation applications or as an emergency source and its engine may be fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The latter is a gaseous fuel obtained from the distillation of oil.

Generators powered by LNG fuelled engines get their fuel from the natural gas distribution network, whereas LPG fuelled generators are connected to a tank which will have to be periodically refuelled.

What are the benefits of natural gas powered generators?

  • They are more respectful of the environment, because the gas causes less emission than other non-renewable fuels (such as coal, diesel or gasoline).
  • They are economical, because gas is the most affordable fuel, second only to coal (which is not an option due to its high emission level).
  • They are high-efficiency generators in co-generation applications.
  • When fuelled by an underground natural gas network, the fuel supply is not conditioned by inclement weather or problems with the communication infrastructure (which do condition diesel generators that need periodic refuelling).
  • They are highly compatible and easy-to-use units, given that it is possible to install them in remote locations, using high capacity tanks.
  • They are very quiet generators.

Among the disadvantages of this type of generator, one must consider the following:

  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered generators are less autonomous than diesel engine ones because it is absolutely necessary to connect them to a distribution network.
  • In the case of LNG equipment connected to the network, one has to take into account that any catastrophe or natural disaster can affect the supply system.
  • Gas is an exceptionally flammable fuel and entails a bigger fire hazard than diesel.
  • The engine and control system are much more demanding, which can result in the product’s final price being higher.
  • They require a more punctual and complex maintenance.


Choosing one type of generator over the other is a decision which involves taking into account numerous variables, some of which are not always obvious.

At Genesal Energy, we advise our clients, offering them the solution which is most adequate to their projects.

For more information, please contact us at:

consultas@genesal.com +34 900 730 124

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