[Gasification] Historical archive - Mond Gas
kenboak at stirlingservice.freeserve.co.uk
Sun Nov 16 04:22:26 CST 2008
Here is a link to a scanned book, published in 1903, describing the
introduction of synthetic gas plants manufacturing a gas known as Mond gas.
Mond gas was named after Ludwig Mond, an industrial chemist, working out of
Northwich in Cheshire. He was partners in Brunner, Mond and Co, which
manufactured soda ash, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate and ammonium
sulphate, used in fertilisers.
Mond gas was produced by reacting the lowest grades of coal slack with
superheated steam. The gas was passed through towers containing dilute
sulphuric acid spray, which removed the ammonia and formed the valuable
by-product of ammonium sulphate.
Mond gas contained about 12% CO, 28% H2, 2.2% CH4 plus 16% CO2 and 42% N2.
The calorific value was about 144 BTU per cubic foot, whilst regular coal
gas (lighting gas) was about 650 BTU/ft3
The advantage of Mond gas was that it could be produced very cheaply, from
lowest grade fuel-stock. The gas was offered as a low cost source of
energy to industry, providing large savings in any processes that required
controllable heat for kilns, furnaces and boilers, such as brick making,
pottery, glass making etc.
Mond gas also provided a low cost fuel for gas engines, and this quickly
provided a boost to the gas engine industry, supplying mechanical power for
industry and electrical power generation. Gas engines exceeding 1000hp were
in use at this time.
A large gas engine running on Mond gas could deliver 5 or 6 times the
efficiency of the equivalent steam engine in terms of pounds of coal burned
per kWh - but because Mond gas was produced from the lowest cost coal slack,
and not steam coal, the electricity was 1/20th of the price.
Mond gas revolutionised industrial power generation at the start of the 20th
century, and gave rise to the first true industrial estates, where
industries clustered around the source of low cost energy. One of these was
the 3000 acre development at Trafford Park in Manchester.
Whilst Mond Gas may have been widely forgotten, the book provides a
historical insight into the operation of early industrial gasification
plants. I hope that it is of interest to some, and that some of the
techniques could be re-employed for the efficient production of power and
energy from low grade biomass, renewable and waste derived fuels.
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