New Kohler generator design reimagines how generator maintenance and sustainability can be accomplished
Data Centre Sustainability Innovation Of The Year.
Entry Description
Data centers looking to achieve uninterrupted uptime and reliability for global data must rely on diesel generators. Yet, the pollutants associated with diesel engine exhaust are a challenge for this vital industry. As power demands grow, the need for robust generators is increasing, making their sustainability of the utmost importance.

Today, the EPA focuses on reducing six common pollutants (ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and lead), implementing increasingly stringent emission level standards. In response, data centers are always seeking greener solutions for their power strategies. Currently, however, most diesel generator strategies utilized by data centers still require multiple aftertreatment devices to meet the requirements of a number of different individual air pollutant standards. Of the six EPA pollutants, particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are often the most difficult to address.

To solve this challenge, Kohler’s innovative Tier 4 Final KD Series Generators reinvent the traditional system, allowing for minimal maintenance demands, optimized continuity, maximized ease for users and greater sustainability results.

Superior in-cylinder emissions control technology and high-pressure common rail fuel injection systems optimize power density, decrease noise, and control emissions. By allowing for multiple injections to be made in each combustion cycle, cylinder temperatures to be better controlled. Therefore, emissions can be optimized in the cylinder, requiring less aftertreatment to meet Tier 4 levels.

The KD exhaust aftertreatment technology also eliminates the need for diesel particulate filters and diesel oxidation catalysts by injecting ammonia through the diesel exhaust fluid tank, while the selective catalytic reduction solution controls nitrogen oxides, leaving only harmless exhaust byproducts of nitrogen and steam. The KD series engine control units and integrated sensors continually monitor and control all elements of the exhaust aftertreatment system. This solution offers best-in-class emissions technology.

The industry is rethinking its approach to backup power in efforts to end the use of diesel fuel in emergency generators. New approaches to a critical component in the digital infrastructure power chain will be carefully considered as operators seek to strike the right balance between reliability and sustainability. The shift won’t happen overnight and innovations like Kohler’s KD series are essential.

These efficiency improvements should enable generator operators to revisit old assumptions about maintenance schedules and significantly reduce load-banking requirements without violating NFPA110 requirements. However, the development teams weren’t ready to roll out this new evidence without first demonstrating performance in the field.

To address this industry challenge, Kohler ran a recent study concluding that some of today’s diesel generators can be safely run at 30% of the rated capacity or higher as little as once per year, as opposed to once per month, while maintaining optimal performance and staying within emissions guidelines. In fact, the savings from switching from monthly to annual loaded testing were compelling – our tests showed an 82% reduction in total pollutants emitted.

Kohler has now conducted field tests for five years alongside its installed customer base. After thousands of hours of use in May, 2021, they were ready to retest in a lab setting to verify performance and conclude their study, as well as share the great news with operators.

We are now testing even more drastic changes to maintenance schedules to see if we can achieve greater efficiencies with other end users including a completely revised maintenance plan that limits engine running to once per year. This will happen gradually as more data center operators learn about the new solutions that can are not only cost-effective, but more energy efficient as well.

The KD Series Tier 4 Generators represent a huge step forward for the data center industry because they reimagine how generator maintenance and sustainability can be accomplished. An array of innovative solutions within these generators help overcome previous maintenance challenges and not only ensure the ease and longevity of the generator’s operation, but also help data center operators easily meet increasingly stringent government-mandated sustainability metrics.

The flexibility, simplicity, and durability of the KD Series Tier 4 certified generators ease many deployment concerns, bringing down barriers to greener power solutions and enabling customers to create a more sustainable future even as they increase their power requirements. This is the simplest Tier 4 generator on the market. Where other systems need multiple aftertreatment systems to achieve the same emissions rating, Kohler’s Tier 4 generator has only one, simplifying implementation and speeding the adoption of enhanced emissions technology. This will empower more users to meet increasingly strict emergency-use emissions standards.

Customers will benefit from the performance, functionality, quality, and cost improvements.
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