"Especially in high-growth areas, we're seeing tighter quarters in construction zones," Chartters agrees. "Developers and builders seeking to be good neighbors will want to minimize noise for the health and safety of their workers on site and for citizens in close proximity."
Another structural issue that isn't legislated yet in the U.S., but is likely to be in future is the use of fluid containment systems. This consists of sealing the bottom of the generator or compressor package so that fluids will not contaminate the ground in the event of fuel or oil leaks. This is vital on some jobsites that have to meet strict environmental standards, and it promises to be an issue on more and more sites as environmental restrictions increase. Currently, Howe says this feature is standard across Doosan's mobile generator range.
Wacker also offers a spill containment option on its mobile generators, a choice Leupi says is becoming more and more popular, even for jobs that don't require such features.
"The spill containment option helps businesses mitigate risks," he states.
Often, generators are used to power pumps that maintain the ground water level at a jobsite, for example. If there was a fuel spill and the fluid got into the ground water, it could result in substantial cleanup costs, Leupi points out. Spill containment systems serve as an "insurance policy" for prudent companies.
It's not just diesel-powered mobile power sources that are affected by environmental regulations. Marc Leupi at Wacker Corp. says the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations for gas engines are creating challenges for small, portable generator manufacturers, as well. In the case of smaller gas engines, the focus is mostly on evaporative emissions that come from the gas cap, fuel tank and fuel line.
To meet 2008 CARB regulations on evaporative emissions, Wacker has designed its portable generators so the gasoline vapors from the vent cap are filtered through a carbon canister. During engine operation, any captured vapors are recirculated back to the engine and burned, resulting in fewer emissions. In addition, fuel tanks are being constructed of new plastics that are less permeable and allow fewer fumes to escape.