Are Generators Bad for the Environment?

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There is no doubt that generators are an effective source of backup power during a power outage. A generator will keep you going through the dark hours. Do you ever think about the impact these generators have on the planet? Whether you have one of the best generator brands or not, it seriously affects the nature around you.

Click here to learn more about the leading generator brands. Or scroll down to learn more about how generators are affecting the environment. We’ll also talk about some cleaner and greener alternatives.

Determining the Best Generator Brands: Cleaner Options

There is a reason why many people do not switch to green generators: their capacity. In contrast to diesel and gas generators, green generators can’t support heavy-duty appliances. Efficiency is important when buying a generator for areas with recurring blackouts.

Even though many of the best generator brands have cleaner models too. But, they might be a bit expensive than other models. So, as a trade-off, people prefer to get the powerful option. Clean working and green generators are the last priorities in such cases.

Though many have switched to greener options – they are still not as powerful as diesel or gas ones. Still, you can solve this problem by paralleling generators to carry a bigger load.

Do the Best Generator Brands Harm the Environment?

The convenience offered by some of the best generator brands could come at a very steep cost. Not only are they noisy and a source of harmful emissions, but also a detriment to the environment. Here are some of the harmful effects of generators:

  • CO2 emissions

Burning fuel releases carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide buildup can occur if generators are used in enclosed spaces. People can die within minutes due to emissions of this invisible and odorless gas.

The 17 deaths in Superstorm Sandy showed such consequences. Most of the time people are unaware of the events surrounding them. This causes them to lose consciousness and sometimes their lives.

  • Air pollution

No doubt, governments have taken steps to reduce harmful emissions and guarantee safety. But this does not mean that the generators are safe or clean.

Though some new technology generators are made with emission control systems. Yet, most of the generators still lack this feature. Furthermore, the new technology generators may reduce emissions. But they still release particulate matter that pollutes the air.

  • Noise pollution

Although the inverter generators and new technology have greatly reduced noise pollution. But the problem is not completely eradicated.

Diesel and gas generators- especially older models – produce very loud sounds. This can disturb not only the person operating the generator but also others around. It can be a great discomfort for people suffering from issues like chronic migraines.

  • Health effects

Many generator users do not know how to properly use the equipment. In places like street fairs, vendors use diesel generators to power up their stalls. In such cases, no one cares about the harmful emissions.

A professor at Cornell University, Max Zhang conducted a study. He stated that: where and when people run generators can be a problem. The generators release nitrogen oxide. It combines with other compounds in the presence of sunlight. As a result, it leads to asthma attacks and other health issues.

Cleaner generators and what makes them better

Many of the best generator brands have cleaner models. These powerful models can also support heavy-duty appliances. Some of these cleaner generators options are:

  • Propane generators
  • Natural gas generators
  • Solar power generators
  • Hydrogen generators

Natural gas and propane are among the cleanest fuels. Unlike diesel or gas generators, they don’t release a lot of harmful emissions. Whereas solar-powered generators are convenient too. They are a good way of saving money on fuel by using renewable energy.

Hydrogen generators, comparatively, are newer but one of the greenest generator options. They are not as common as the other types. But they are still used in many hospitals and labs, etc.

It’s not that these generators are completely eco-friendly. But, when compared to other fuel sources, these alternatives have almost negligible effects.

The propane and natural gas generators are somewhat cheaper than the other two types. This is because they use newer technologies. Furthermore, all the above-mentioned generator alternatives are also quiet in operation. 

Latest technology to the rescue

Severe limitations have been put on generator use. So, the best generator brands have made models that are efficient and clean. Here are some of the upgrades you may discover in newer generator models:

Cleaner fuel

Newer diesel generators use ULSD (ultra-low sulfur diesel). The use of ULSD will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 2.6 million tons annually.

Efficient combustion

Generators are now equipped with advanced technology to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. They are also efficient at producing more power with less fuel. 


Many generators now use DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) in catalytic reduction. This can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 95%.

Alternative fuel

Technological progress has allowed the development of greener fuels such as biodiesel. It has not only reduced pollution but also sulfur emissions.


Having generators as power backup has become a necessity now. But that doesn’t mean one should ignore the general aspects of environmental damage. Diesel and gas generators might be suitable as power backups for longer periods. But we must also consider their health and environmental effects.

Moreover, there is another thing to consider here. Though still not perfect; the latest models of diesel and gas generators are not as harmful to the environment. But they might be a bit more expensive than the non-eco-friendly ones.

You must have already decided to buy from one of the best generator brands. So it is better to spend a little more money and go for their greener options. This will be safer in the long run; not only for you but also for the environment.

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