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To the city dweller no Utopian dream could present a more inviting prospect than that which is offered in the extension of the plan English engineers have just announced: to convert all coal into gas at the mouth of the mine, and to transmit all fuel by pipe to our greater cities. The idea is tremendous and revolutionary, but no practical objections have been presented to it, while its cost, in comparison to the benefits to be gained, is insignificant.
HUGE pipe, six feet in we are getting our breath and blinkingly
diameter and one hun- trying to believe half what we hear, they
cannot be summed will work such enormous economies that up in a sentence. To cut the price of it is a thing to marvel at and to base fuel in half and so split the cost of power great hopes upon. The transmission of and of all power-produced articles of natural gas great distances through pipes manufacture; to rid our cities, big and for heating, lighting and power purposes little, of smoke forever; to sweep coal has become so common in the West that dust and ashes from our streets and to little attention is attracted by it; but the relegate the coal wagon to the scrap transmission of manufactured gas long heap are a few of the things they blithe- distances for supplying fuel for cities has somely tell us will be among the benefits sufficient novelty about it to make the the patient race will immediately realize subject of more than passing value. Reby extension of the plan; and then, while cently at a meeting of one of the scienCopyright, 1907, by Technical World Company.
tific institutes in London, the project was coal annually would be required, and at discussed of transmitting fuel gas from an initial pressure of four hundred and the South Yorkshire coal fields to Lon- eighty pounds to the square inch this don, a distance of one hundred and sev- could be obtained through four large pipe enty-three miles, through a six-foot pipe lines or a single one six or more feet in to supply the city with all the fuel it diameter. Owing to the higher practical needed for its various purposes. This efficiency of the gas it would not take scheme included the complete displace- nearly so much coal as now consumed in ment of coal in the city for all uses. Gas the city of London, but as the consumpengines would utilize the gas fuel and tion of gas would be immeasurably indrive all the machinery required, even the creased through cheaper cost and effilighting being obtained from electricity ciency for power purposes the plant derived from generators driven by gas would have to be arranged for a maxiengines.
mum supply of 900,000,000 cubic feet per It was estin hat to do thi uffi- day. Such a plan a few years ago would cient gas to displace 15,000,000 tons of have seemed more like a wild dream than
a possibility, but the engineering society which discussed the scheme were earnest in their belief that within another decade this would be the solution to the coal problem. Instead of carrying coal long distances, it would be converted, at the mouth of the coal pit, into gas which would be piped in sufficient quantity to supply all needs. It was not long ago that the transmission of electricity from the coal field to the city was considered the ideal method of the future, but the loss of energy through electrical transmission a long distance would be much THREE EXAMPLES OF THE SMOKE NUISANCE IN LARGE greater than with gas. In other words, gas may come to supplant long-distance electrical transmission where the energy idly increased if an abundance of gas is originally derived from coal and not could be obtained at relatively low cost. from water power. Of course electricity Tine gas as fuel would be used in gas is an esse tial part of the new power engines both for direct driving of mascheme. Gas engines innumerable would chinery and for the generation of elecbe employed in the gas-supplied city for tricity for various uses. The scheme prodriving dynamos and generators, but the posed for London is not to pipe the gas long-distance transmission would be in extensively in distributive pipes, but the form of gas rather than of electricity. rather to supply numerous central sta
The improved gas engine has made tions with large quantities for operatsuch a scheme practical and economical. ing electric machinery. The electricity With a cheap and abundant fuel always
would then be distributed to the houses on hand which will cause no smoke, dust for heating, lighting and for power puror ashes, the industrial activities of a poses. The initial cost of the plant for large city would immeasurably increase. distributing the electricity to private A great many manufacturers are com- houses would be less than for piping for pelled to give up light and heavy manu- gas. At the central stations and in manufacturing in large seaport and river cities, facturing establishments gas engines owing to the ordinances against smoke, would be the only fuel-consuming maand also by the cost of fuel. The gen- chines. These could be used directly or eration of electrical power in such cities indirectly for operating the power plants. is also too costly a process for the gen- · The transmission of such an enormous eral use of electric motors in manufac- quantity of gas a great distance is a probturing. Heating and lighting by gas and lem which theoretically is simple and electricity are rapidly excluding all other promising. If it could be successfully forms, but their extension would be rap- applied in London it could be duplicated