There are a variety of Fuel choices available for both Portable and Whole House Generators including Gasoline, Diesel/Fuel Oil, Liquid Propane, and Natural Gas. However, the most popular Fuel type for a Portable Generator is Regular Grade Gasoline. (See my article, “Hurricane Tech – Keeping the Lights On with a Portable Generator” for information on Portable Generators.)
It is quite common for Whole House Generators to support both Natural Gas and Liquid Propane as Fuel sources. However, the Generator must be specifically configured to accept either Natural Gas OR Liquid Propane as the fittings and pressures are different for each Fuel type. (See my article, “Hurricane Tech – The Whole House Generator Option” for information on Whole House Generators.)
Some Portable Generators, known as “Tri-Fuel” models, ship with the ability to support Gasoline, Natural Gas, or Liquid Propane. This offers the best of all worlds, as these are the three most common Fuel types available. Again, some mechanical configuration changes are required when switching between Fuel types because the fittings and chambers required to burn Gasoline, a liquid, are different than those required to burn Natural Gas or Liquid Propane, both in gaseous form at time of combustion.
Regardless of the Fuel type selected, ONLY use the Fuel type for which the Generator is specifically configured to accept. FUELS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. Failure to use the proper Fuel type for the Generator may result in significant damage to the engine as well as possible explosion and fire.
The advantages and disadvantages of each Fuel type will be discussed in future articles.