Energy production

SCHAPER - Emergency power systems. An insurance in case of emergency.

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With its reliance on constantly available energy, our high-tech world is highly vulnerable. There doesn't even have to be a major blackout for this to become clear to us. Even a fire in a single transformer from an energy supplier can cause a power outage in an entire city. While private households will no longer be able to do anything, operations will continue in many systemically important facilities and companies. This is ensured by high-performance emergency power systems and Friedrich Schaper Notstrom- und BHKW-Technik GmbH.

Friedrich Schaper Notstrom- und BHKW-Technik GmbH has been designing and constructing emergency power systems for more than 60 years. Reliability, safety, cost efficiency and the sustainable operation of these emergency power systems (NEA) are of paramount importance. As far as the service is concerned, the name of the company’s website,, says it all. Customer service is available around the clock and can help with problems as quickly as possible. The comprehensive range of services extends from the installation of small spare parts to immediate repair in the event of a fault to comprehensive motor overhaul.

Schaper installs and maintains emergency power equipment in hospitals and care facilities, fire and police stations, data centres, banks and insurance companies, utilities and many industrial companies. 

Schaper’s expertise in emergency power technology lies in maintenance-friendly design and the ready-to-use installation of stationary systems as well as flexible container solutions. Only high-quality, coordinated individual components are used. 

The heart of an emergency power system is usually a generator driven by a diesel engine. If the power fails, a maximum of 15 seconds will pass before the emergency power system starts. During this time, powerful batteries take over the power supply. The emergency power supply and battery system work together to ensure an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

Schaper only equips standby power supply systems with engines from well-known manufacturers, such as MTU or Volvo. While the smallest have an output of 50 kW, large motors, such as those used in emergency power systems in hospitals or energy companies which support the power supply, reach up to 2,000 kW. Whether small or large, the motors are almost always supplied with an engine oil based on SAE 15W-40 synthetic technology. Schaper recommends the product because it has a wide range of approvals from leading motor manufacturers, is available worldwide and has proven itself to be very effective. Depending on the motor, 5 to 200 litres are used in a major assembly.

Maintenance, tests and oil analyses

Regular maintenance and servicing are essential for the safe and reliable functioning of any standby power supply system. Therefore, legal requirements must be complied with, not only during construction, but also during maintenance. These are the basic requirements. But in an emergency, the quality of professional support for a standby power supply system determines its operational readiness and thus the rapid availability of emergency power. 

The operators of emergency power supply systems generally carry out one-hour trial runs with a partial load of 50% at monthly intervals. In addition, the Schaper service technicians subject the systems to a comprehensive inspection once a year, as part of the maintenance contracts. Among other things, the engines are checked for functionality under full load and samples of the engine oil are routinely taken for analysis by OELCHECK. The motors of an emergency power system are subject to different demands than those of motor vehicles. This is an important fact that OELCHECK takes into account when investigating engine oils. All relevant parameters are analysed in the OELCHECK laboratory and then commented on accordingly. This includes, for example, contamination of the oil with diesel fuel from the combustion process. As with a passenger car engine, which is only occasionally subjected to a cold start and then only runs for a short time, increased ingress of fuel can occur in the engine oil. This reduces the viscosity and thus impairs the lubricity of the oil. In the laboratory, the percentage of fuel in the oil is therefore determined using a gas chromatographic method. 

In addition, not every standby power supply system can work under the ideal conditions of a protected environment. In such cases, for example, contamination that is due to the ingress of dust from the environment can be proven in OELCHECK’s laboratory report. Corresponding information that is written by OELCHECK tribologists in the laboratory report concerning any impurities or other abnormalities in the analysis values help Schaper’s service employees take short-term measures.


The benefit of doing without

In theory, the engine oil of an emergency power system should be changed once a year. A safety factor – but does it really make sense? With the extremely short running times of the motors, which generally only work in test mode, the oils are subjected to a correspondingly low load. In addition, this frequent change thwarts efforts to operate sustainably. Schaper consistently accompanies the use of engine oils with all-inclusive analyses from OELCHECK. Monitored in this way, the intervals between oil changes can be safely extended to up to four years. 

Dietmar Schaper, like his brother Rainer Schaper, is a Managing Director of the company: "Instead of three oil changes in four years, we only carry out one. A large system with an oil volume of 200 litres saves 600 litres or three barrels of engine oil. Of course, this approach has a negative impact on our sales and revenues. But the profit in terms of sustainability is enormous. OELCHECK’s laboratory reports perfectly document the condition and development of all lubricant parameters, both for customers and us. At the same time, they provide information concerning any weak points in the system. This type of documentation also ensures security and trust for our customers!"

Top tip: Things to note about diesel fuel

Conventional diesel fuel in accordance with DIN EN 590 ("petrol station diesel") contains up to 7% biodiesel (FAME)! Despite optimal storage and antioxidants that are present in the fuel, this biocomponent is subject to natural ageing. Blended biodiesel leads to the formation of acids and deposits. Old diesel fuel may prevent the operability of an emergency power system, typically at the point when it is needed. Instead of using filling station diesel, Schaper recommends the use of heating oil (low-sulphur) in accordance with DIN 51603-1. Due to the standard requirement, it is free of biodiesel and therefore more stable in terms of storage. If necessary, an additive must be added to improve the cetane number (ignition quality).

A system partner for CHP and emergency power systems

Friedrich Schaper Notstrom- und BHKW-Technik GmbH is a forward-looking, owner-managed company in the field of mechanical and plant engineering with a 120-year company tradition. Schaper offers customers in the public sector, energy suppliers/municipal utilities and hospitals as well as operators of biogas plants the complete supply chain from production and installation to maintenance and the modernisation of their plants. The company focuses on a catchment area within 200 km of Hanover and has successfully implemented over 800 projects. Annual sales amount to €4.0 million.

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