Pros & cons of a natural gas powered generator

Updated July 20, 2017

A natural gas generator, as the name implies, is a generator which runs on natural gas rather than petrol or diesel. The primary use of this generator is as a source of backup power in case of a blackout or a loss of electricity. Despite being comparable to both petrol and diesel generators, natural gas generators have their own pros and cons, with the result that they are not a viable choice for every consumer.

Ease of Fueling

A natural gas generator can be plugged into a natural gas line, thus removing any necessity for refuelling or checking the remaining fuel. Problems can occur with the power output if the gas pressure is low or natural gas is not available in a certain area. Additionally, there may be fuel plumbing costs associated with bringing a connection to a household. An important issue is the question of natural gas availability during natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

Noise During Operation

Emission of noise is not an issue. Natural gas generators do not emit much noise when in use in comparison with petrol or diesel generators of the same size, thus lowering noise pollution. There are portable petrol generators available which boast silent noise levels.

Power Output

Output of high levels of power is possible without fear of overloading the generator. They are effective even in conditions of intermittent load levels. Additionally, natural gas generators use less fuel per kilowatt hour of electricity generated than petrol generators.


Being quite large, natural gas generators take up a lot of space. They lack the portability of other types of generators, such as petrol generators, which can be carried by hand.


Natural gas generators cost more in comparison to their petrol and diesel counterparts. However, petrol or diesel generators can be converted to run on natural gas.


Installation of natural gas generators can be done by any number of service technicians. The installation itself is not costly and the maintenance charges are quite low as well.

Running Costs

Running natural gas generators annually for more than 500 hours can produce some of the least costly electricity available. This is especially true when compared to generators which run on petrol and diesel, a fact backed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Lower Emmisions

Lower levels of emissions, and hence less air pollution, make natural gas generators a more environmentally friendly option. Since natural gas is considered a cleaner fuel option, it is easier to receive a permit for use of a natural-gas-powered generator, and there is also less opposition from environmental interest groups and residents in the vicinity.


Natural gas generators are started using an electric starter switch or key, meaning that they can be started with minimal physical effort.

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About the Author

Mahmood Shaikh started writing in 2009 as a research writer at the Niatah Corp. His work has been published in "Students Spectrum Magazine." He holds a bachelor's degree in medicine from Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi, Pakistan.