Fuel for Thought: History of Diesel

History Of Diesel Fuel Explained
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Fuel for Thought: History of Diesel

CPS is home to a vast array of articles on all kinds of Generator parts. From alternators to bellows, from Perkins to Mecc Alte. We cover the history and mechanics of every part to ensure you understand the dedication, craft and care that goes into your bespoke Diesel power solution. Up until now, however, there’s been one topic we’ve neglected.


Not the inventor Rudolph Diesel (though we will touch on him somewhat), the fuel itself. Diesel fuel is, of course, the lifeblood of your Diesel generator. But what is Diesel, what’s it’s history and how is it made? Learn more about this amazing fuel in this guide.

What is Diesel

The most common type of diesel fuel is a fractional distillate of petroleum fuel oil, found during experiments by Rudolf Diesel for his compression-ignition engine in 1892, later known as the Diesel engine.  Rudolf always intended his engine to run on liquid fuels but had no specific fuel in mind. The fuel commonly used in most Diesel generators today is based upon petroleum. This form of Diesel is a hydrocarbon produced via fractional distillation.

What is fractional distillation?

Fraction distillation is an incredibly complex process used to make the fuels, oils and gasses we use often in our daily lives. whilst it would be impossible to explain its nuances and Deeper mechanics in just one blog, the basics are as follows:

Imagine the crude oil we gather from the depths below as one long chain of hydrogen and carbon atoms. To create the more reactive fuels we need to power everything from our lights to our cars, we use something called a distillation tower. This is filed with distillation plates, carefully placed at the right height for the best separation.

As we run the crude oil through a furnace, it becomes a vapour. This vapour settles at different points of the fractional column. This is because different oils, which are essentially just smaller “chains” of hydrocarbons, have different boiling points. As the vapour cools as it travels up the fractionating column, it comes to rest on a distillation plate. The final product of this is the fuels we need to power our industries, cars and much more, separated out on different plates. Diesel fuel has a boiling point of around 300 degrees Celsius, leaving it well below gasoline and above lubricating oils.


CPS hopes this informative guide has shown you the interesting history and manufacturing process of the Diesel you use to power your UK-manufactured bespoke power solution from Constant Power Solutions. We can provide Diesel generators to meet any of your needs, from soundproofing to primary power solutions. To learn more about how your Diesel generator works, or what a Diesel generator could do for your business, read more of our articles here on the site or contact us today.

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