GenApp Cloud Monitoring of Generator Fuel Levels
Technology improvements have made it less costly and more reliable to cloud monitor fuel levels for generators. And there are a few important reasons to do that:
- Performance and Personnel Safety when Disaster Strikes
- Code compliance for generator run times
- Improve quality of long term diesel storage
- Minimize cost of fuel supply and delivery
- Avoid human error in manual fuel logs
- Assure reliability to facility owner / users
- Secure communications independent of your networks
GenApp, Who Needs it? Here are 10 Critical Use Cases:
Use Case 1: Medical Facility Campus. Most medical facilities have multiple buildings and multiple generator systems, including larger generators at central utility plants, and smaller units at Medical Office and other buildings. Regulatory requirements from CMMS and Life Safety codes require minimum fuel levels and frequent refills to maintain compliance. In a disaster, one point of information informs your team about fuel levels and where to focus re-supply, and keeps your team safe without exposure to the weather and generators in operating mode.
Use Case 2: College / University Campus. Many people, many buildings, many generators in a College / University campus. When disaster strikes Life Safety is job 1. One point of information for your facilities team, to give you what you need for fuel supply, without being out in the weather and exposed to operating machines.
Use Case 3: Elderly Care Facilities and Specialty Medical. You may be responsible for a large number of generators in your management area – without on-site facilities staff. There is the important issue of CMMS compliance and your generator readiness. And when disaster strikes, how do you direct your team and fuel suppliers, to keep your facilities in power.
Use Case 4: Local Government Centers. City, County, and State Government Centers usually include many buildings and many generators to manage. Most are Life Safety generators to protect people. But many are also to allow government to function in emergencies and natural disasters.
Use Case 5: Telecom / Cellular Facilities. Distributed facilities with small generators would characterize most telecom sites, although central, switching, or aggregating sites can have substantial power backup. GenApp fuel level monitoring helps assure readiness of sites for performance during emergencies, and plans for efficient refill during extended emergencies.
Use Case 6: Data Centers. Most modern data centers have generators on dedicated fuel sub-base tanks. This means that fuel needs to be distributed at the site to the individual generators in need of re-fill. GenApp allows for efficient on-site delivery by the fuel supplier. In an emergency, that means the logistics work, by efficiently cycling fuel supplies from terminal to the site.
Use Case 7: Water and Wastewater Infrastructure. Critical infrastructure needs to operate confidently through emergencies. Water and wastewater plants may have multiple large generators requiring refueling. And the utility system likely includes many distributed generators at various lift stations. GenApp helps drivers deliver efficiently with gallons needed and also GPS coordinates of the generator.
Use Case 8: Power Grid Infrastructure. The power grid is becoming highly distributed with many renewable energy sources, often with backup power generators. Also many generators operate in peak shaving mode to reduce power loads during extreme weather conditions. GenApp provides the information for efficient re-filling of grid critical generators.
Use Case 9: City, County, State Infrastructure. Fire, Police, Emergency Medical, 911 Emergency Call are all local critical functions typically backed by emergency power generators. In a disaster, efficient refueling is a critical operation supported by GenApp.
Use Case 10: Commercial Buildings Facility Management. Facility managers of commercial buildings are responsible for life safety generators ant many buildings without full time facility personnel. GenApp assures compliance with Life Safety Codes, and efficient refill in emergencies.
Easy Low Cost Technology for Remote Monitoring of Fuel Levels
The onsite devices consist of (a) a level sensor that installs into the top of the generator sub-base or day tank and plugs into (b) a cellular enabled, battery powered monitor / transmitter. That’s it.
Our technicians setup the tank parameters and alarm points on the cloud based software. Then after a quick calibration check, the system is ready to use by your team
Once on-board and activated, the system will update fuel levels every day, with a verification check every 10 minutes. whenever there is a change of 5% of fuel level. The accuracy allows recordkeeping for fuel consumption and delivered re-fill gallons
Here is more technical information on the hardware:
- Temperature Rating: -40 to + 140F
- Weatherproof Enclosure: 0-100% Humidity (IP65 Enclosure)
- Radio: 4G, LTE CAT1, 3G. Dual SIM with CATM and NB IOT
- Battery: Designed for 20 Year Life
- Diesel Fuel Rated: Approved for Class 1, Div 2, Groups Cand D
- Warranty:5 Years
Information Interface That is Easy to Access, Use, and Share
Once the information in onboarded, there is a simple summary page with the status all your generator tanks. You can share the information with your in-house team and your fuel supplier. You can also access the information from your phone using our App.
Why do you Need GenApp? What does GenApp Do for You?
Here are some good reasons:
1. Performance and Personnel Safety when Disaster Strikes
No manager wants to wait until disaster strikes, then send people out in wind and rain to open up running generators and check how much fuel is left. That would be called poor planning.
Think Ahead. GenApp is a low cost way to confirm your fuel inventory at each generator. For the ongoing top-off of generator fuel from testing, GenApp allows you to send site reports to your fuel supplier to get the best pricing on your fuel needs.
In a disaster, you should be ready with the required fuel to get your generator run-times. But what is the emergency is extended, and you need re-fueling now. Your first questions will be how much, where. and who. GenApp has the answers for you to get your primary fuel supplier in action. And if a broad disaster ties up the resources of fuel supplier 1, you have all the information needed to engage fuel supplier 2.
Think of your people. In the middle of a disaster, do you even have people available to check generator fuel levels? If people are available, is it safe for them to go out in a storm and make the rounds? And what about work safety at the generator? Do your personnel need to open the generator enclosures while the engines are running, then access and read the fuel level? There is a better way.
2. Code Compliance for Generator Run Times
When your generator system was designed, the fuel system was sized to provide the required run time (2 to 72 hours typically) at the full rated generator load, with a 75% Full Fuel Tank.
Since you can usually only fill fuel tanks to 90-95% full to prevent overfills, there is a relatively narrow band of fuel level that needs to be managed – 75 to 95%. That band is needed to perform the repeated monthly or better generator run to check performance.
If your tank was designed strictly to these requirements then it is imperative that the tanks be refilled at that 75% level. Otherwise the generator could be out-of-compliance with life safety requirements, and if medical related likely also out-of-compliance with CMMS requirements.
3. Improve Quality of Long Term Diesel Storage
If you own or operate diesel generators you are likely aware of the diesel fuel quality problems that can impact generator reliability. These problems are exacerbated by water forming in the vapor space above liquid level in diesel tanks. Here water can condense on the exposed tank surfaces and settle to the bottom of tanks where a water layer promotes microbe growth and accelerate tank bottom corrosion.
Top-Off of tank fuel levels to minimize the vapor space is a recommended good practice to ensure fuel quality. That means more frequent and smaller fuel deliveries. GenApp is designed to minimize that effort.
4. Minimize Cost of Fuel Supply and Delivery
Especially when topping off generators, delivery volumes of fuel can be very limited. Why does it cost so much? Its because you are paying the cost of the specialized truck and driver to get to your site and back, whether they deliver 50 or 500 gallons.
The most simple way to save money on small fuel deliveries is to aggregate them, to allow delivery to all needy generators at your site. GenApp tells you exactly the fuel need for each generator at the site and what that means in total.
If you use several suppliers, the GenApp allows you to get accurate quotes on the exact fuel gallons needed.
5. Avoid Human Error in Manual Fuel Logs
Manual paper logging of fuel levels is probably the most common way of monitoring fuel levels in diesel generators. In some cases, this means each tank fuel level is checked by inserting a wooden gauge stick to read inches and converting that with a tank chart to calculate gallons. In other cases it is reading a small dial gauge to get ¼, ½, ¾ accuracy. Then there is the effort of transcribing the manual logging to a spreadsheet.
The issues with manual logging are (a) your personnel are expensive and over-qualified, (b) small dial gauges are very often inaccurate for the tank or the floats are sticky and do not ravel with the fuel level.
Most importantly, when disaster strikes and your fuel levels are rapidly depleting, you likely will not have the time or people to get accurate status of fuel level. GenApp is at its best in a storm.
6. Secure Communications Independent of your Networks
Building and Infrastructure systems are subject to cyber attack. This problem can be especially important for Data Centers and Hospitals. Because of this most critical facilities have limited interface to their internal data networks.
GenApp remote monitoring requires no building data (or even power) connection. No Ethernet, No Wi-Fi interfaces that could potentially be an unwanted gateway. Even if your generators have tank gauges integrated to your BMS or Scada systems, it makes sense to have an external system that can be shared with your vendors for reliable fuel delivery and assured generator operation.