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Benefits of a Generator Fuel Consumption Monitoring System

A generator triggering an alert when it has low fuel remaining

Do you use either propane or diesel as a primary or backup power source at your remote sites? If you do, you know that running out of fuel has major consequences.

Your remote sites need fuel (propane/LPG or diesel) to stay online when commercial power fails. With limited battery plant capacity, you never want your fuel tanks to unexpectedly run dry. Imagine the expense and stress of rushing a refueling truck out to your site and hoping it gets there in time.

But tracking your propane or diesel levels is complicated. You have a lot of sites, and they consume fuel at different rates. You can schedule routine refueling trips based on average consumption, but that's not very efficient and you'll still get the occasional surprise.

With modern fuel sensor technology, it's now possible to use fuel sensors to remote track fuel levels. You and your team will get alerts whenever fuel runs low. You'll be able to refocus your experts on more important work because refueling will suddenly be a simple process to manage.

So, you need fuel tank monitoring equipment that monitors your fuel levels in near-real-time. It sends you low-fuel alarms. It even toggles between tanks when one is running dry.

What does a fuel tank monitoring system look like?

Let's start by looking at an example site:

Propane monitoring system using a NetGuardian RTU and an LPG sensor with a wireless extender
In this example, a NetGuardian RTU uses a wireless analog bridge to communicate with an LPG (propane) sensor attached to a standard fuel tank. Notifications can be sent to your email address or smartphone.

As you can see above, the key elements of fuel system monitoring are:

  1. Your remote tank
  2. A fuel sensor (float, ultransonic, tank gauge replacement, or tank wrap)
  3. An RTU to collect real-time sensor data
  4. A connection between sensor and RTU (wireless or wired)
  5. An alarm display (your email, your phone, an SNMP manager, or a dedicated alarm master)

Do I have to put a hole in my tank for the fuel sensor?

No. You don't need to penetrate the walls of your tanks to set up fuel level sensors. You just need to choose an appropriate sensor for your needs. There are several types of fuel sensors available:

  • Machine-readable replacement gauge: No hole required
  • Tank-wrap sensor: No hole required
  • Float sensor: Hole required
  • Ultrasonic sensor: Hole required
Fuel level float sensors
Multiple sensor types (ex. replacement gauges and tank wraps) sense your fuel level without any structural modifications. Float sensors, as shown above, require penetration of your fuel tank. Ultrasonic sensors require similar holes.

What's in it for me?

Many companies often overlook generator monitoring of their propane/diesel fuel levels. This means, at any given moment, you're vulnerable to running out of fuel and quickly into a power outage. With your uptime directly depending on your generators as a power source, it's simply too risky to leave such a high-value piece of equipment unmonitored.

Tank level monitoring, just like most other elements of network visibility, offers two kinds of benefits:

  1. Business benefits
    • Reduce wasted truck rolls for sites that still had plenty of fuel.
    • Reduce wasteful "emergency" truck rolls that should have happened early during routine site visits.
    • Prevent expensive outages caused by a site losing power.
    • Keep your customers happy (and loyal) with reliable service.
    • Be aware of total fuel consumed and any fuel theft.
  2. Personal benefits
    • Keep your boss happy (see business benefits above)
    • Keep yourself happy (no more stressful low-fuel situations)
    • Keep your significant other happy (no more middle-of-the-night emergencies and a more stable workday schedule)

Do you want to simplify your remote monitoring management to make things easier for you and your crew? Call DPS today to go over fuel monitoring and other monitoring solutions techniques to prevent unpleasant surprises:

1-800-693-0351 or sales@dpstele.com