Kohler Natural Gas Generators More Efficient than Ever

Get peak performance from natural gas generators

While diesel has been the conventional fuel of choice for backup generator sets because of its initial capital cost advantages, things are changing as regulations, costs and technologies have evolved, and, because of that evolution, natural gas generators have gained in popularity.

“Over the past 15 years, there have been numerous performance developments in gas generator set technology to improve fuel efficiency, reduce exhaust NOx emissions and increase ratings,” according to Clay Hardenburger, senior staff applications engineer for Kohler Co. Hardenburger is the author of a new whitepaper, Gas Generator Set Performance Characteristics, that takes an in-depth look at characteristics of natural gas powered generators, the fuel used, their applications, and more. (To get a copy of the free whitepaper, click here.)

Kohler's standby commercial generators can run on propane or natural gas.
Kohler’s standby commercial generators can run on propane or natural gas.

“These key development characteristics combined with incentives to develop renewable energy biogas fuel sources have moved the industry forward to consider gas generator sets as the preferred electrical power generation technology for continuous duty applications when paralleled with the utility,” writes Hardenburger. “In addition, recent expansion of natural gas fuel sources in the United States has resulted in low fuel prices, which is also driving the marketplace to utilize gas generator sets for standby and prime applications typically served by diesel generator sets.”

Kohler Co.’s Power Division offers a slew of EPA emissions-certified LP and natural gas generators in the up to 400 kW range, delivering an installation-ready product for residential power and light commercial applications. Kohler also developed a new line of large natural gas generators that are designed specifically for standby, prime or continuous power applications in the North American market. The large gas gen sets range from 425 kW to 1300 kW (and growing). For applications that require larger industrial generator sets, contact Steiner’s Power Systems division experts and they can help you choose the most appropriate generator.

The 14/20 kW RESA Kohler home generator
The 14/20 kW RESA Kohler home generator.

These natural gas generators run on relatively clean burning fossil fuels such as propane. The lower emission gaseous gen sets significantly reduce carbon monoxide and particulate emissions.

Get your generator locally from Steiner

Steiner Electric, a local authorized distributor of Kohler products, offers an extensive inventory of residential and commercial generators that primarily operate in standby-rated mode utilizing LP or NG fuel.

Models rated for residential and light commercial applications include the 14/20kW RESA models that feature Kohler’s PowerBoost Technology for improved starting power. The generator can easily start and run a 5-ton air conditioner. The 38/48/60kW RCL model offers quiet operation and the Fast-Response II excitation system that delivers excellent voltage response and short-circuit capability using a permanent magnet alternator.  The 60kW ERESB model for light commercial application, which utilizes NG and LPG gas, and depending on voltage achieves

The Kohler 38/48/60 kW RCL generator.
The Kohler 38/48/60 kW RCL generator.

a multitude of standby ratings for both gas types. The 80 to 150Kw ERESD models have numerous features including the Fast-Response X excitation system, and sophisticated control systems.

The Kohler 60 kW ERESB generator.
The Kohler 60 kW ERESB generator.

In addition to Steiner’s large inventory of generators, as a registered, certified distributor of Kohler generators, generator experts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergency situations. In addition, all Steiner generator experts undergo rigorous training programs that must first be completed and are routinely updated.

Burn it Lean, Burn it Rich

These models operate differently depending on the fuel used, mixture of air and fuel, applications and other factors. Often, there are tradeoffs such as between power and efficiency.

To help straighten out the web of generator options, and best understand the unique factors of each, Hardenburger’s whitepaper addresses the

The 80/100/125/150 kW ERESD model generator for light commercial applications.
The 80/100/125/150 kW RESD model generator for light commercial applications.

performance characteristics found in gas generator sets that utilize different fuels and engines, power factor, generator set rating, load requirements, and more parameters.

Fuel sources, for instance, typically come in two categories: methane-based fuels sources and hydrocarbon-based fuel sources. As Hardenburger explains, methane-based fuels such as pipeline natural gas are for use in high-compression ratio, lean-burn engines. Hydrocarbon-based fuel sources such as propane can be used in low-compression ratio, rich burn engines.

Hardenburger says that gas engines are classified as either lean-burn or rich-burn combustion types. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages depending upon the application.

Lean-burn engines are associated with high-electrical efficiencies, and are typically used in continuous parallel with the utility applications as a primary power source because of limited transient response capabilities. Whereas rich-burn engines are usually associated with applications where transient load response is more critical than fuel efficiency. They are typically applied in emergency standby applications where the generator set system is the secondary power source when utility power is not available.

Rich-burn engines are a better choice in applications where large transient load changes above 30% are required. An LPG fuel source can be utilized in these applications without derate if low compression ratio engines are utilized.

Kohler large natural gas generator
Kohler offers natural gas generators at up to 1300 kW. For more information about your application, contact your Steiner Power Systems application engineer at (847) 956-3098.

Lean-burn engines are a better choice in applications where the utility is always present, and the required operational capacity exceeds 8,000 hours per year. Fuel efficiency is a key consideration in continuous applications, so engines with high compression ratios are typically utilized. Heavy hydrocarbon fuels such as LPG cannot be utilized in these applications without significant engine derate.

To help understand the basics of gas generator characteristics, their benefits and tradeoffs, download the Kohler whitepaper, Gas Generator Set Performance Characteristics, or reach out to your local Steiner Power Systems application engineer at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).



Kohler Maquigeral Lights the Way to 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Over the last two weeks, thousands of athletes and spectators flocked to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympics––and Kohler Maquigeral was honored to light the way.


The first city in South America to host the Olympics welcomed over 10,000 athletes, not including 5,000 coaches and team officials, representing 205 countries who vied for the gold between August 5-21.Rio welcomes the 2016 Olympics

As host city, many infrastructure investments were made to prepare for the Games, including the TransOlímpica bus rapid transit (BRT) line.

The city constructed the TransOlímpica route to connect the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, in the west zone of Rio, with downtown. This 15 ½-mile-long (25-kilometer) route reduced travel time to the Olympic Park from 2 ½ hours to 30 minutes, with capacity of 55,000 vehicles per day.


New within the route was a 1-mile-long (1.7-kilometer) tunnel which took four years to construct. The entire tunnel infrastructure (fire pumps, lighting and signage) was powered by four Kohler Maquigeral container generators, 2 x 550 kilovolts (kVA) each, totaling 4,400 kVA, assembled and installed in just eight weeks.


“The TransOlimpica route is one of the main infrastructure investments for the city of Rio de Janeiro. Kohler Maquigeral Generators will not only run during the games, but be part of the long-term legacy,” said Kai-Uwe Hirschfelder, General Manager – Kohler Maquigeral.

Kohler Maquigeral provides primary and backup power systems. The Brazilian company, acquired by Kohler Co. through SDMO in 2012, has 270 associates with eight sales offices across Brazil and a facility in São Paulo. Maquigeral produces generators from 40 to 1,500 kVA and offers uninterrupted power supply services.

Steiner Power Systems is the authorized Kohler Power Distributor in Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana for Kohler Generator sales, service and rental. For more information and to speak with an experienced Kohler Generator application engineer, please call 1-847-956-3098.

   generator maguigeral

Kohler Gives Inside Look Into Manufacturing Innovations of Power Generators

Every Kohler Generator manufactured is unique to each market and end user. While some generators might look similar on the outside, they are made to perform different jobs and serve specific applications. Innovations are introduced during the engineering process for important attributes like fuel type. Meticulous work is put into designing the data boards that run generators for optimal performance by application. And rigorous testing is performed on crucial safety features as well as product durability.

Fuel Type Innovations

Generators powered by propane are specifically designed to efficiently maximize operating levels from that particular fuel source. Generating power through propane provides distinct advantages for mobile generators. Mobile propane generators have an on-board fuel capacity of about 24 hours of run time at 75% load. They act like any other mobile generator in the marketplace with the differentiating factor of having a more efficient on-board fuel type in terms of lower operating costs and higher BTU output performance.

Data Boards for Specific Applications

Generators need data boards programmed for specific applications in order to run. Without the essential data board, even with the best engine or all of the needed fuel, none of it will run without the right data board. Different data boards are required for each unit – such as for mobile, marine or industrial applications. As a result, data boards hold extremely high importance in the manufacturing of power generators.


Rigorous Testing

Each Kohler Generator undergoes rigorous testing before being released for sale. For example, ensuring every propane powered unit is properly tested for gaseous leaks is critical. Testing for leakage is made possible by using ultrasonic technology. Since propane gas is not visible there’s nothing that can be seen to uncover the presence of a leak. Ultrasonic technology allows the tester to hear for any leakage.

Another exhaustive testing procedure involves compressing the life of a generator through a thirty-year cycle, which goes beyond routine performance testing that simply checks if a generator is operating as intended. Compression testing provides a clearer understanding for viewing the wear – through accelerated life testing – to find out how the generators will hold up years from now. The process involves loading beyond what the load should be at one time and uses high load factors in order to compress what might be years of usage into a single test.


Possessing more insight into the engineering innovations, data programming and rigorous testing Kohler employs in manufacturing their power generators makes it easy to see why Kohler Generators are preferred throughout many industries and used for numerous applications. If you would like to learn more about Kohler Generators, or want more information about Steiner’s generator service, rental and sales you can contact Steiner to speak with an application engineer and find out how Kohler Generators can benefit your business: 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Kohler Propane Mobile Generator Benefits

The Kohler name is known for its elegance and beauty in several industries; from furniture and cabinetry to engines and generators. For about as long as they’ve been making faucets, they’ve also been providing power through their power generators. The Kohler Power System Division is a leading manufacturer of generators in the United States.

Cost-Effective Alternative

Since 1921, the Kohler power system product line has provided power for people in businesses through all types of applications. Their ability to progress and adapt to the market has been a staple for Kohler’s success in this category. One of their newest products is a cost-effective solution for primary power for builders, contractors and business owners. Here is a look at Kohler Power Systems Propane Generators.

Kohler has been manufacturing mobile generators since the company’s inception. With new regulations coming in from the EPA more recently, Kohler decided to focus on a new design; a gaseous mobile unit. For years, customers have requested generators that are placed on wheels, and with propane mobile generators, they are offered just that.


For contractors that are on the jobsite – whether it’s a single home or whether it’s an entire neighborhood or commercial complex, Kohler’s mobile generator can be used and reused as a primary power source if needed. Every construction job is different, but the mobile propane generator is an easy product to move, manipulate or reconfigure for whatever the contractor needs.

Kohler generators are engineered for reliability, usability and mobility to serve any application, from construction sites in bigger cities to more secluded or remote locations. They can be used for many purposes, such as disaster relief, construction, events, healthcare, or anywhere where backup or primary power is needed.

Users benefit from higher energy output levels produced by propane generators, while also obtaining lower operating costs due to propane being cheaper to burn. Customers can save up to 20% in fuel costs with propane vs diesel fuel sources. Other advantages of propane include longer shelf life, cleaner burning, a quieter engine noise level and more emission compliance.

For more information contact Steiner to speak with an application engineer and find out how Kohler Generators can benefit you and your business: 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).