Difference Between Generator and Inverter (With Table)

With the technology now evolving in The Modern Era, the electricity needed for it has also marginally grown. Although electricity has cemented its place in our daily lives, where does it come from? It is produced and then directed into productive use. But when there is no power supply, there are certain techniques through which electricity reaches us, two of which are Generators and Inverters.

Generator Vs Inverter

The difference between generator and inverter is that the generator produces electric current itself while an inverter only converts one form of an electric current into another form. Although they accomplish a similar result of providing electricity, each one is independently used depending upon the needs at the time of power failure.

A Generator is an electromechanical device that is used to produce electrical power. It usually works with the help of external sources such as gas turbines, water turbines, and combustion engines. These external sources mostly run on fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

On the other hand, an Inverter is a power electronic device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This conversion is done because AC is standardly used by most household appliances. The DC which is to be converted is usually obtained from batteries and even solar panels.

Comparison Table Between Generator and Inverter

Parameters of ComparisonGeneratorInverter
OriginInvented in the late 18th century.Invented in the late 19th century.
CapacityAvailable in much higher capacities.Available in lower capacities.
EfficiencyTakes more time and effort to start at the time of electricity failure.Automatically and immediately starts in case of electricity failure.
MaintenanceRegular maintenance is required.Little or no maintenance is required.
ApplicationsUsed in longer power cuts or emergencies. Used in shorter power cuts or common households chores

What Is A Generator?

A Generator is defined as a device that is used to produce electrical energy from mechanical energy. It is essential to know that a generator scientifically does not actually produce electricity but converts a large amount of energy from one form to another.

Even at the time of modern technology, a generator operates on the original principle of electromagnetic induction discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday. He during an experiment discovered that the flow of electricity could be induced with the help of an electrical conductor in a magnetic field. The movement of the electric conductor creates a voltage difference between the two ends. As a result, electric charges flow and hence generate electric current.

The major components of a working generator are Engine, Alternator, Fuel System, Voltage Regulator, Cooling Systems, Lubrication System, Battery Chargers and, a Control Panel. These components co-dependently work in a series of processes to produce electricity and convert it into productive use. A generator is commonly also known as an Electrical Generator.

What Is An Inverter?

An inverter is defined as an electrical device that converts the alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) which is stored in the battery and then the same inverter converts this direct current (DC) back into alternating current (AC) which is supplied for practical use.

The principle on which an inverter works is a DC to AC conversion. It needs a battery of good strength and an electronic circuit that switches back and forth between the positive and negative polarities to create an output. This output is in the form of a square pulse. This pulse is then sent through a wave shaping circuit in order to obtain an AC signal of the same strength as the original DC. The AC obtained can then be modified depending on the requirement.

Although the components used in an inverter can vary, the most commonly used components are the Microcontroller, two types of transistors named BJTs and MOSFETs, Filters and, an Output Power Transformer. An inverter is commonly also known as a Power Inverter.

Main Differences Between Generator and Inverter

  1. Generators are already established and don’t need to be particularly installed anywhere, all they need is a place to be kept at. Inverters however require professional installation and wiring systems.
  2. Even though generators can provide much more power output, they are a bigger threat to the environment. Generators make a lot of noise and produce smoke leading to Noise and Air Pollution respectively. On the other hand, inverters are pollution-free and cause little to no noise.
  3. Not only this, generators are heavy and large in size so it takes considerable time and effort in moving them. However, inverters are light and compact making them easily manageable.
  4. Inverters are capable of parallel operation as well. This means that an inverter can be connected to another inverter of identical rating in order to double the power capacity, which is an added advantage. Parallel operation is simply not applicable in generators.
  5. Inverters need generators as a backup in case the power cut is for a longer duration. Whereas in the case of a generator there is no need for any backup facility, it produces the electricity itself.

Conclusion

Today, one cannot imagine his/her life without electricity. Thus, if there is no power supply due to some reason a backup is always essential. Even though generators and inverters have the same result of providing electricity, both of them are used for totally different purposes.

As generators are higher in capacities, they are used to power buildings, industries, factories, etc. as the consumption is large and it may even be needed for a longer duration of time. Generators are versatile, they can be used almost anywhere. On the other hand, inverters are used to provide enough power only for a short duration. The inverter’s battery needs to charge itself as it has low capacity, hence it is perfect for limited use. Since the inverter is also noise and smoke-free, it is best suited for houses. They have little to no cost of maintenance once they are installed and run smoothly for years. Generators and inverters are two excellent sources of backup but selecting one of them solely depends upon the needs of the user.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/985115/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6064096/
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