Induction generator is an asynchronous generator. An induction machine can work as an induction motor as well as an induction generator without any internal changes or modifications. Induction generators are uneven and rugged; thus, they do not require commutation and brush. Induction generators require large amount of reactive power. This can damage the entire system. This is one of the major disadvantages of induction generators. Induction generator works on the principle of induction motor to generate electricity by using an alternating current. It is used in wind power plants, macro or mini hydro power plants, wind turbines, etc. Induction generator is also used in converting high pressure gas stream to lower pressure, and thus recovering energy with marginal controls. When connected with a capacitor, induction generator can generate sufficient reactive power to operate on its own.
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Induction generator has the ability to produce useful power at varying rotor speed. This makes it suitable for wind turbines and some micro and mini hydropower installations. Induction generators are simpler than other type of generators, i.e. mechanical and electrical. Rapid population growth, increase in demand for electricity, rise in number of power outages, growth in volume of off-grid power consumption, and implementation of strict government regulations to minimize harmful emissions are the primary drivers of the induction generator market. Demand for induction generator is also driven by the price of fuels such as diesel and natural gas. Rapid rise in adoption of renewable energy resources in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors is also expected to boost the global demand for induction generators through integration of generators with renewable energy systems.
The induction generator market can be divided based on type, application, and end-user industry. Based on type, the market can be segregated into squirrel cage induction generator and wound rotor induction generator. In terms application, the market can be bifurcated into on-grid and off-grid. In terms of end-user industry, the induction generator market can be split into wind power, paper mill, water utilities, and others. Squirrel cage induction generators has no separate field circuit. This is a key disadvantage. These induction generators are widely utilized in wind power generation. Wound rotor induction generator consists of a stator, which is same as the squirrel cage induction motor. However, the rotor is different when compared to squirrel cage induction motor and has insulated windings coupled with slip rings and brushes. Induction generator is being increasingly used as a means of recovering energy that would otherwise be lost. Power generated through the use of induction generator may be consumed on site or can be sold to on-grid utility. Wind and water driven induction generators are being used to convert that energy into electrical energy.
Year-on-year increase in wind energy based power generation across the globe is the prominent driver of the sales of induction generators. Developed countries such as the U.S., the U.K., and Germany have started adopting off-grid power systems to reduce dependence on utility-scale electricity. This has boosted the sales of induction generators in these countries. Countries in Asia Pacific, especially China, experience high demand for induction generator. This demand is anticipated to increase further in the next few years. The U.S. dominates the induction generator market in North America in terms of production and installation.
Rise in demand for electricity cannot be met by the existing grid infrastructure. This has created the need for efficient generators. These generators can be utilized during power outages. Increase in demand for electricity and efficient quality of power generating products are some of the factors propelling the induction generator market.
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Key players operating in the induction generator market include Briggs & Stratton Corporation, Caterpillar Inc., Cummins Inc., Generac Holdings, Inc., Kirloskar Electric Company Ltd., and Wärtsilä Corporation.