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Water Gas as an Illuminant.

At tlie works of the Leeds Forge Company, Limited, there has been erected a I gas plant, which we understand is the first which has been got to work on a commercial scale in this country. The gas is used for various purposes in the works, such as furnace heating, welding, and lighting, and has completely displaced the town's gas, which was formerly employed on a very extensive scale, and also the Siemens producer gas. It is of a high calorific intensity, and will heat a furnace so rapidly that thirty charges i of steel may be obtained per week as against eleven charges with producer gas. It does not give a luminous flame, and when applied to lighting purposes it is made to play upon a comb of magnesia rods, which become highly incandescent and glow with a pure white light. It is impossible to raise magnesia to this temperature with ordinary gas except by aid of a chimney of unwieldy length. _ Water gas is a fixed non-conden-sible mixture of carbonic acid, there being 95 per cent, of combustible material. It is produced by blowing steam through incandescent fuel; in its passage the watery vapor becomes decomposed, the oxygen combining with carbon from the fuel to form carbonic oxide (CO), and the hydrogen being untouched. Both the carbonic oxide and the hydrogen are combustible, the former combining with more oxygen to form carbonic acid (CO2) and the latter forming water. The process of dissociating the steam has a rapid cooling action on the fuel, which quickly ceases to glow. The admission of steam is, therefore, only continued for four minutes, and at the end of that interval it is stopped. The combustion of the fuel is then urged by an air blast for ten minutes to bring it back to its original incandescent state, whereupon the air is turned off and the steam on. The course of the air is upwards and that of the steam downwards through the fuel. During the time the air blast is in action large volumes of producer -gas are driven off, and may be conveniently utilised in driving the boiler which provides the steam, or in any other way. The whole of the valves are arranged to be operated by one lever, and by it they are opened and closed in their proper order; a bye-paBB is opened and reclosed each time to permit of the escape of the small amount of air or gas left in the ports after blowing or gas-making, thus removing the least risk of explosion. The gas passes from the generator through a scrubber, which extracts the dust, into a gasholder. When used for lighting purposes a purifier containing oxide of iron is interposed between the gasholder and the pipes. No alteration is required in the fittings, even the ordinary burners being used with the addition of a magnesia comb. With a consumption of 5 cubic feet per hour a light of 22 candles is obtained. At the end of 100 hours the comb requires to be renewed at a cost of lsd. The light is extremely white and pleasant to w«rk by, while the products of combußtion are bo innocuous that plants thrive among them. The construction of the gas-producing plant at the Leeds forge was commenced on September 29, 1887, and finished on March 29, 1883, and since that time the entire apparatus has worked without the slightest difficulty. It is capable of producing 40,000 cubic feet an hour, there being a complete run every fifteen minutes, during which time each generator yields about 17,500 feet of producer gas end 5,000 ft of water gas. One ton of fuel will produce 30,000 cubic feet of water gas, and with fuel at Ss per ton and labor at 3s 6d per day, it is found that the gas costs about 4Ad per I,oooft, exclusive of fixed charges. The consumption of fpel is about lOcwt per hour per generator when in full work. Mr Samson Fox, the managing director of the company, now uses water gas throughout the works, and he estimates that the saving amounts to LIO.OOO a year, as compared with the time when lighting gas was employed for welding the tubes of corrugated furnaces and for other purposes. Since the above was published in ' Engineering,' various improvements have been made in the process of manufacture, one of the most important of which is that the admission of steam is continuous.

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Bibliographic details

Water Gas as an Illuminant., Evening Star, Issue 7940, 22 June 1889, Supplement

Word Count

Water Gas as an Illuminant. Evening Star, Issue 7940, 22 June 1889, Supplement