diesel infosheet How Diesel Fuel is Used to Generate Electricity Diesel generating plants use diesel fuel to generate electricity. Inside a generating plant, there is a large diesel engine (similar to what you would find in a tractor trailer). The diesel fuel is used to run the diesel engine which converts the energy contained in the diesel fuel into mechanical energy. Inside the generator there are wire coils. Mechanical energy forces the movement of electric charges found in these wire coils. This movement creates electricity! Think of a generator working the same way as a water pump. A water pump causes the flow of water, but it does not actually ‘create’ the water flowing through it. Inside a diesel generating plant, the generator uses mechanical energy to cause the flow of electrons, but it does not actually ‘create’ the electricity. The movement of electrons produces electricity. In Newfoundland and Labrador, diesel generation is used to provide power to customers in isolated, remote communities. These communities do not have a connection to a power grid that connects more than one community served by larger electricity sources. Some homes and businesses own small diesel generators as a back-up power supply. Some people use generators to power their cabins that are not connected to an electricity system. Diesel generation is also used as a back-up power supply in case of a power outage. Diesel fuel is a non-renewable source of power generation. It is non-renewable because fuel cannot be recycled or re-used once it is used to run an engine inside a diesel generating plant. Burning fossil fuels such as diesel fuel creates greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. Diesel generating plants can also produce noise pollution. Efforts have been made to reduce the amount of air pollutants through regular engine preventative maintenance and automating diesel plants where possible. Also, noise barriers are built around plants located relatively close to residential homes.