Diesel Engine Fundamentals
One of the most common prime movers is the diesel engine. Before gaining an
understanding of how the engine operates a basic understanding of the engine's
components must be gained. This chapter reviews the major components of a
generic diesel engine.
DEFINE the following diesel engine terms:
Given a drawing of a diesel engine, IDENTIFY the following:
Intake ports or valve(s)
Exhaust ports or valve(s)
Most DOE facilities require some type of prime mover to supply mechanical power for pumping,
electrical power generation, operation of heavy equipment, and to act as a backup electrical
generator for emergency use during the loss of the normal power source. Although several types
of prime movers are available (gasoline engines, steam and gas turbines), the diesel engine is
the most commonly used. Diesel engines provide a self-reliant energy source that is available
in sizes from a few horsepower to 10,000 hp. Figure 1 provides an illustration of a common
skid-mounted, diesel-driven generator.
Relatively speaking, diesel engines are small,
inexpensive, powerful, fuel efficient, and extremely reliable if maintained properly.
Because of the widespread use of diesel engines at DOE facilities, a basic understanding of the
operation of a diesel engine will help ensure they are operated and maintained properly. Due to
the large variety of sizes, brands, and types of engines in service, this module is intended to
provide the fundamentals and theory of operation of a diesel engine. Specific information on
a particular engine should be obtained from the vendor's manual.