Lister Type Diesel Engines: The Reliable Off Grid Generator

Lister Type Diesel Engines: The Ultimate Off Grid Generator

If you are looking for a proven reliable, durable engine/generator for your homestead you might want to consider a slow turning, cold starting Lister type machine. They are renowned world wide for their reliability, ease of starting, remarkable fuel economy, reliability & extreme durability.

You can run this generator with alternative fuels such as straight vegetable oil, waste vegetable oil, bio-diesel, waste motor oil, and other fuels.

They are based on an old technology: the first Lister diesel engines were built in Great Britain in 1929. There are still engines made in India that are exact copies of the originals along with more powerful models that are based on the general design. You’ll find videos on-line of vintage engines still in operation. They are truly built to last which provides peace of mind when using it for mission critical applications.

They are generally used for a power source for generators, grinders, mills, pumps and pretty much anything else that else needs power. We use it to charge our solar batteries.

  • Proven reliable
  • Starts without power using hand crank
  • Long duty cycle
  • Relatively easy to maintain and work on
  • Built to last forever
  • Can run on bio-fuel

Video Demonstration

Our generator was made in India by Satyajeet (Sensitive Industries). We have a 10hp 5kw Lister type generator with a GM 90/1. There are a variety of different options and configurations that you can choose from depending on your specific needs. We suggest starting with the Lister forums (see below) and going from there.

This is not a “plug and play” type of machine and a person needs to be willing to learn a few things before making an investment!

  • 10hp diesel engine
  • Electric start with aux alternator
  • 5kw head with utterpower serpentine pulley for slower
  • speed running with adjustable base
  • Napa Aux oil filter. Racor marine fuel filter
  • heavy duty frame with forklift channels
  • Electrical box with breakers/receptacles
  • Xyzer dipping rod. Extra fuel lines
  • Fuel line heater for use when running vegetable oils

We fired it up recently for a video. It had been sitting all winter in an unheated building unused. Fired up on the first try – no problem!

24×7 – 3 month run time using waste oil!

Here’s a video of a Lister that is run 24×7 for three months at a time using waste oil.

Photo Gallery


Support & More Information

This forum shares a wealth of information on Lister and Lister type engines: Troubleshooting & how to’s for pretty much anything related to these machines. It also covers using alternative fuels such as strait vegetable oil, waste vegetable oil, bio-diesel fuel, waste motor oil, and other fuels. Find the forum here!

Installation Guide

Here is an installation guide, it has a diagram of the major working parts of the machine. We actually found Bill from Just Live Off Grid to be extremely helpful and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Lister type engines. Here’s the installation guide and here is the Just Live Off Grid website.



4 thoughts on “Lister Type Diesel Engines: The Reliable Off Grid Generator

  1. Desmond Fourie says:

    Hi Charlotte I do really appreciate your article on the Lister like diesel engine for a generator set. I have never known that this engine could run on except for diesel on biodiesel new or used vegetable oil and used motor oil. I’m interested to know if there’s any other fuel possibilities to work with. I’m sorry I have forgot to introduce myself,I’m Desmond Fourie from South Africa a beautiful country but unfortunately are stuck with a unreliable power supply utility Escom . I’m really very excited to buy myself one of these Lister engines for a generator set to have more stable energy supply. Thanks Des please do keep well.

    • Charlotte Walker says:

      Hi Desmond, unreliable power is such a challenge – glad you’ve found out about the lister – we are still very impressed with ours. We have not used bio-fuel with ours yet, and I would not want to give advice on something I don’t have experience but there are articles out there stating that it will work with any sort of vegetable oil (corn, sunflowers, soy etc). Best wishes to you.

  2. Mitchell Bandur says:

    Hi Charlotte :
    Do you have any 6 hp lister engines or even India ones are fine let me know if you do and the price of them

    Thanks Mitchell.

    • Charlotte Walker says:

      sorry, we don’t sell them and it’s been a long time now since we bought ours (still works like the day we got it). Good luck with your search!

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