When are combustion engine drivers used for pump applications?
The benefits of internal combustion engines are that they are capable of operating when electricity is not available such as remote applications, portable applications, or in the event of an emergency such as a fire when electricity for a motor may not be available.
An additional benefit is that they are inherently capable of varying speed of the pump to meet the demands of the system.
Image 1 is an example of an engine used for a fire pump (pumps used for fire suppression).
However, in comparison to electric motors, there are other considerations when using combustion engine drivers. These drivers will be less efficient, require more regular maintenance and require additional cooling.
The noise level will be higher, fuel will need to be available and stored, and these drivers exhibit increased risk of torsional vibration issues, especially on vertical pumps.
A torsional analysis is sometimes performed. Consider checking with the engine manufacturer for recommendations regarding analysis.
For more information about temperature sensors, temperature monitoring and fire pumps, refer to ANSI/HI 9.6.9 Rotary Pumps Guideline for condition monitoring, and search “pump system optimization” at www.pumps.org.