The University of Tennessee
College of Engineering
Campus Photos
A-Z Index  /  WebMail  /  Dept. Directory

UT Power Engineering Laboratory - "Powering the Future "

Advanced Mobile Generator Set


Dr. Leon M. Tolbert


The U.S. Department of Defense has initiated a program to upgrade and develop enhanced tactical power systems to provide reliable electrical power in the battlefield. One aspect of this program is for the development of advanced mobile generator sets in the medium power (5-60kW) range.  These future generator sets are to be portable, lightweight systems that are electronically controlled, signature suppressed, and capable of operating on DF-2/JP-8 fuels in extreme environmental conditions.

This generator set uses an internal combustion diesel engine to drive a radial-gap permanent magnet alternator at variable speed.  The speed of the engine is determined from a user selectable interface that for a given load and ambient thermal conditions controls the engine to run at its most efficient operating point.  It is also possible to control the engine to run where it is most audibly quiet, at its least-polluting operating point, or at its most reliable, stiffest point such that it is less sensitive to load transients.  The variable frequency, variable voltage produced by the permanent magnet alternator is diode-rectified to dc voltage, and an inverter is used to produce selectable frequency, controllable ac voltage.   The power conversion system also incorporates a bi-directional dc-dc converter that can charge 24V batteries that are used to start the IC engine and to power auxiliary loads. The bi-directional converter can also draw power from the batteries to help maintain the dc link during severe load transients.  The design of this new generator set offers additional flexibility by being lighter, smaller, and more fuel efficient than a conventional fixed-speed gen-set.

Generator Set 01
Fig 1. PM alternator mounted to gen-set engine.

Generator Set 02
Fig 2. Proof of concept 7.5kW-rated gen-set.

Related publications and presentations

L. M. Tolbert, W. A. Peterson, T. J. Theiss, M. B. Scudiere, "Gen-Sets," IEEE Industry Applications Magazine, March/April 2003, pp. 48-54.

L. M. Tolbert, W. A. Peterson, M. B. Scudiere, C. P. White, T. J. Theiss, J. B. Andriulli, C. W. Ayers, G. Farquharson, G. W. Ott, L. E. Seiber, "A Bi-Directional DC-DC Converter with Minimum Energy Storage Elements," IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, October 13-17, 2002, Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 1572-1577.

L. M. Tolbert, W. A. Peterson, M. B. Scudiere, C. P. White, T. J. Theiss, J. B. Andriulli, C. W. Ayers, G. Farquharson, G. W. Ott, L. E. Seiber, "Electronic Power Conversion System for an Advanced Mobile Generator Set," IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, September 30 - October 4, 2001, Chicago, Illinois, pp. 1763-1768.

Contact Information

Campus Image
Contact Information

Min H. Kao Engineering Building

Website Master:
Jessica Boles