Introduction

l l l l Types of Generators Generator Noise Sources Noise Reduction Techniques Case Study

Generator Noise Control - An Overview

ASHRAE TC 2.6

o There are two categories of generators: Diesel and spark ignited. Spark ignited types include propane and natural gas engines. o The right hand graph on the next page shows the sound power level difference between the two types of standard, unhoused generators. Y-axis is sound power level, x-axis is sound pressure level. As can be seen in the graph, the sound power level for natural gas and propane are the same. o Sound power level is similar to horsepower – it relates to the total energy produced by the generator. Independent of distance or location. o The left hand graph illustrates the variation of sound level with fuel type. This time the values are Sound Pressure Levels, dBA. Sound Pressure Level varies with distance and location from the source. o For reference, the SPL of a quiet residential neighborhood is 45 dBA during daytime hours, 35 dBA at night. 100 feet from a busy freeway is 70 dBA. Normal conversation at 3 feet is 60 dBA.

7 m Sound Pressure Level.0 110.0 125 kW Diesel 125 kW Natural Gas 125 kW Propane 75.0 100. dB re 1 picowatt 105.1 Comparison of Generator Noise with Fuel Type 115. Generator Noise Control .0 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 Octave Band Center Frequency.1 84. Hz.0 70.0 125 kW Diesel 125 kW Natural Gas 125 kW Propane 90.ASHRAE TC 2.0 80.An Overview .0 95. dB re 20 microPascals 90.0 85.0 84.0 Fuel Type 85.0 Sound Power Level.0 86.6 Types of Generators o Diesel o Propane o Natural Gas Sound Pressure Level by Engine Type.

0 80. noise levels increase with size of generator.6 Much of the additional low frequency noise associated with the 2 MW generator is due to the noise from the radiator fan.0 91.0 85.0 75.0 86.0 140 Sound Power Level. 7 m 100. as will be shown in a later slide Comparison of Diesel Generator Noise with Size 160 Sound Pressure Level by Engine Size.0 125 kW Diesel 500 kW Diesel 1 MW Diesel 2 MW Diesel Size .2 Sound Pressure Level.0 70. dB re 1 picoWatt 99. ASHRAE TC 2.0 120 100 80 125 kW Diesel 60 40 20 0 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 Octave Band Center Frequency. Hz.Types of Generators As expected.0 94. 500 kW Diesel 1 MW Diesel 2 MW Diesel 90. dB re 20 microPascals 95.

Generator Noise Control .An Overview .ASHRAE TC 2.6 Generator Noise Sources o Generator Engine Block and Air Intake This is the dominant source of noise out the air intake openings into rooms containing a generator.

with larger engines the noise from the radiator fan can dominate at least some portions of the frequency spectrum produced by the generator.ASHRAE TC 2. Generator Noise Control . As we will see in the next slides.An Overview .6 Primary Noise Sources o Radiator Fan Radiator fan noise combines with the engine block to be the dominant sources of noise radiating out of the discharge air opening in rooms containing generators.

6 Primary Noise Sources o Exhaust o Turbo Charger Generator Noise Control .ASHRAE TC 2.An Overview .

Many noise ordinances will allow portable equipment to exceed a code limit. Generator Noise Control . or if the noise ordinance does not allow an exemption.6 Primary Noise Sources o Load Bank – 95 dBA @ 10 feet o Vibration n Engine n Connections to ductwork.ASHRAE TC 2. Larger engines can damage the supporting structure if vibration isolation is not provided. unless the generator is located on an upper floor or roof. They are very noisy. Spring vibration isolators are normally used to reduce the vibration to the supporting structure. brought in for occasional testing. exhaust pipe. If the load bank is not portable. it would need to be placed inside the generator room.An Overview . electrical In our experience load banks are often portable. Vibration is not normally a significant noise source.

dB re 20 microPascals 95.0 75. which shows engine sound levels with and without radiator present.ASHRAE TC 2.An Overview . Hz. Generator Noise Control .0 Sound Pressure Level.0 90.0 70. No exhaust noise is present unless noted.6 Primary Noise Sources 2 MW Diesel Generator Sources 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 2 MW Diesel Generator Sources 100. no Muffler Source Octave Band Center Frequency. no Radiator Exhaust Noise.2 Sound Power Level. dB re 1 picoWatt Engine Block + Radiator Engine Block.0 85. no Muffler 99.2 96.0 Engine Block + Radiator Engine Block.6 93.0 80. The significance of radiator fan noise is apparent in this slide. no Radiator Exhaust Noise.

6 Noise Reduction Techniques o Generator Rooms n Room Enclosure o Roof o Walls o Doors o Internal Lining n Intake Air and Discharge Air o Duct Silencers o Acoustic Louvers o Exterior Screens Generator Noise Control .An Overview .ASHRAE TC 2.

n Flexible pipe connectors.6 Noise Reduction Techniques o Exhaust Noise n Resistive Mufflers n Active Noise Control o Structure Borne Noise & Vibration n Spring Isolators on Generators larger than 175 kW.An Overview . Generator Noise Control . n If floor joint is present. electrical connection at generator. weight of concrete beneath generator should be not less than twice the generator weight.ASHRAE TC 2. duct connectors.

Active noise cancellation silencers used to be available as a manufactured product. Industrial grade silencers reduce exhaust noise by 12-18 dBA. . Critical grade silencers reduce exhaust noise by 25-35 dBA. but are not currently available.ASHRAE TC 2. Residential grade silencers reduce exhaust noise by 18-25 dBA.6 Resistive mufflers are available in at least three grades of effectiveness. They were effective in reducing the low frequency tones associated with the cylinder firing.

ASHRAE TC 2.6 Case Studies o 1000 kW Generator. housed in equipment room o Direct Radiator o Closest Receiver Property 50 feet Generator Noise Control .An Overview .

An Overview . and a muffler on the exhaust pipe. a screen is on the outside of the intake opening. Acoustical louvers are used sometimes instead of duct silencers. This is the most typical installation. Duct silencers are shown on intake and discharge openings to room. Generator Noise Control .6 Case Study o 1000 kW Diesel Generator o In generator room in lowest level of building o 50 feet to closest property This shows plan view of generator inside an enclosed room.ASHRAE TC 2.

SPL at 50 feet = 88 dBA n If low pressure loss silencers are added to inlet (static pressure drop = 0. SPL at 50 feet = 65 dBA. free field = 89 dBA n If generator is in a room. n If solid screen of sufficient size and mass is included outside of intake louvers. Generator Noise Control . SPL at 50 feet = 73 dBA.6 Case Study o Noise out of intake air opening to room n Unhoused generator SPL at 50 feet. with large inlet louvers close to the side of the generator as shown in previous slide.10 at -1000 fpm).An Overview .ASHRAE TC 2. internal 4” thick lining on two adjacent walls of room.

. the size of the room is limited due to cost. and the outside air inlet louvers are very close to the engine generator.6 If the inlet louvers were substantially removed from the side of the generator. more reduction would be achieved by placing the generator in a room with acoustical absorption present.ASHRAE TC 2. In most cases.

but radiator fan is closer to discharge. 73 dBA with silencers. 86 dBA with room. n Size of opening might be slightly less.An Overview . 65 dBA with additional solid screen. Generator Noise Control .ASHRAE TC 2. n Expected noise levels would be the roughly the same as the intake – 89 dBA without room.6 Case Study o Noise out of discharge air opening n Similar to intake opening.

n Add Industrial Silencer. in direction of exhaust. 64 dBA at 50 feet.An Overview . roughly 5 dBA attenuation.6 Case Study o Exhaust Noise n In free field. 22 dBA attenuation on average.ASHRAE TC 2. 30 dBA average attenuation. = 79 dBA at 50 feet. n Add Residential silencer instead. at 50 feet. n Point exhaust up. Generator Noise Control . 57 dBA at 50 feet. exhaust with no muffler is 84 dBA. 15 dBA attenuation. 49 dBA at 50 feet. n Add Critical grade silencer instead.

ASHRAE TC 2. Generator Noise Control .6 Case Study o Combine noise levels from various sources.An Overview . o Inlet = 65 dBA o Discharge without screen = 73 dBA o Exhaust noise = 57 dBA with residential grade silencer o Combined level = 74 dBA o With screen on discharge. combined level is 68 dBA.

An Overview .ASHRAE TC 2. o 55 dBA would be compatible with most noise ordinances at residential property. required distance between generator room and closest residential property would need to be approximately 200 feet to reduce noise levels to 55 dBA. Generator Noise Control . o Using remote generator radiators can further reduce noise levels from generator room. o Another 20 dBA noise reduction in the room design can be achieved with longer duct silencers and multiple exhaust mufflers.6 Case Study o 68 dBA is higher than most ordinance limits for residential use. o Even with these significant noise control measures. but space requirements are substantial.

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