Reliable power generation is essential for Alaska communities, businesses, critical infrastructure, and arctic job sites. Unfortunately, traditional diesel engines are not built to withstand the extreme cold temperatures we experience throughout the winter and may fail to operate in sub-zero environments. This challenge prompted an innovative solution by our team at ESI, resulting in the development of the RE-AIR system—an enclosure that transforms diesel generators into cold weather champions. In this blog post, we will explore the RE-AIR system, its functionalities, applications, and how it has revolutionized power generation in Alaska.
The Dilemma of Cold Weather and Diesel Engines
Diesel engines are designed to operate in moderate temperatures, making them ill-suited for the severe cold experienced in Alaska during winter. The waste heat generated during internal combustion is typically expelled as hot air through the radiator, which is not ideal in chilly conditions. In a nutshell, diesel engines struggle to function optimally when temperatures plummet, causing potential reliability issues for power generation equipment, from generators to heavy machinery.
The Birth of RE-AIR
Recognizing the need for a reliable cold weather power solution, ESI engineers developed the RE-AIR system. The system captures the hot air produced by the radiator and redirects it to create a warm environment within the generator enclosure. Essentially, the radiator is transformed into a heater for the generator, allowing it to function seamlessly in bitterly cold climates.
How the RE-AIR System Works
The RE-AIR system consists of a duct equipped with automatic louvers. During operation in cold weather, the hot air generated by the diesel engine is redirected through this duct and circulated within the generator enclosure. This process ensures that the engine operates in a warmer environment despite the freezing temperatures outside. As a result, the generator functions as if it were in a temperate climate, enhancing efficiency and reliability.
Versatility and Applications
The RE-AIR system has found its way into a diverse range of applications across Alaska, catering to various industries and needs. Some of its key applications include:
Mobile Power for North Slope Operations: Major companies like Conoco and Hillcorp utilize the RE-AIR system to generate power for remote facilities on the North Slope.
Telecommunications: Telecommunication companies rely on RE-AIR equipped generators for both primary and backup power at isolated communication sites.
Lodges: Many lodges in Alaska employ generators with RE-AIR as a dependable source of power during harsh winters.
Banks and Medical Facilities: These facilities utilize the RE-AIR system as a backup power solution to ensure uninterrupted service during power outages.
Construction Industry: Construction sites operating in remote regions benefit from the RE-AIR system’s reliability and efficiency when temperatures dip to the extremes.
Advantages of the RE-AIR System
The RE-AIR system offers numerous advantages over traditional methods of cold weather power generation:
Enhanced Reliability: The warm enclosure provided by the RE-AIR system increases the generator’s reliability in extreme cold, reducing the risk of unexpected shutdowns.
Improved Efficiency: By maintaining optimal operating temperatures, the generator’s fuel efficiency is maximized, resulting in cost savings.
Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to building elaborate insulated generator sheds, the RE-AIR system provides a more affordable and compact solution, reducing purchase, shipping, and maintenance costs.
Ease of Maintenance: We prioritize simplicity in our designs, ensuring that the RE-AIR system is easy to work on and procure spare parts, even in remote regions.
Born out of a deep understanding of our arctic environment and the challenges our industries encounter daily, ESI Generators equiped with RE-AIR provide reliability, efficiency, and uninterrupted power to ensure the lights stay on, the wheels keep turning, and the warmth of reliable power keeps everyone thriving no matter the temperature.