« PreviousContinue »
in hundreds of cities in this country. or smoke of any kind. Americans have Most of our large cities are situated solved the problem of transmitting natusomewhere within a hundred and fiftyral gas and transporting crude and remiles of some coal fields, and if gas could fined petroleum great distances through be transmitted such distances at a much pipes, and it is natural that the solution higher efficiency and far more economic of the vexed problem of heat and power ally than the transportation of coal many in our cities should receive similar soluof the problems of today would be solved. tion from their hands. The nuisance of burning soft coal in our T he idea of the English scientists is to cities would no longer come up to per- conserve the supply of coal in their native plex its inhabitants. Soft coal could be land, which some predict 'will begin to utilized at the mouth of the coal pit for fail long before the country is thoroughly generating gas, and this could then be prepared to adopt some other fuel. The forced to the nearest cities without dirt most recent estimate places the supply
of coal in England at something like 193,000,000,000 tons, including Ireland, but at the present enormous consumption of the fuel the day when coal will become almost prohibitive in price will not be so far distant. Anything which will tend to economize in the use of coal is therefore popular with the inhabitants. With a saving of twenty per cent a year through the burning of the coal at the mouth of the pits and transmission of gas through pipes for fuel, a gain would be made which would put the fatal day of high fuel off many years.
It was estimated that the cost of a compressor plant to supply London with sufficient gas to displace the fifteen million tons of coal now annually used in the city would cost upward of $13,000,000, and the annual cost of operating it about a million and a half. It would be necessary to compress a maximum supply of 625,000 cubic feet of gas per minute to five hundred pounds per
square inch, and to do this there would be tons per year. required about 207,000 horsepower at the Thus with the cost mines. It is considered the most eco- of compression, nomical way to produce this enormous transmission and power to use gas producers and gas en- interest on the ingines at the mines. If eight-hundredths vestment the gas of a pound of coal is consumed for each could be delivered at a total cost of less indicated horsepower per hour there than twelve cents per thousand cubic would be a consumption of only 355,000 feet. In many of the English towns
gas is today manufactured at a cost trunk lines for gas transmission from a of eleven and three-tenths cents per large city to the nearest coal mine, it thousand cubic feet, and it is believed would be possible to tap them at any by the engineers interested in this point to supply adjacent towns and cities gigantic scheme that gas could be de- along the route. There would be in fact livered from the coal mines to the heart a gradual disappearance of the dirty coal of London at about twelve certs. The car and equally dirty coal delivery wagons effect of this would be not only to fur- in towns and cities. Heat; light and nish consumers of power, heat and light an abundant supply of fuel at very low prices, but the exhaustion of England's coal mines would be delayed several centuries.
London - particularly needs some escape from the present nuisance of coal smoke, which, it is believed by many, has more to do with London's fog than the dampness of the surrounding sea. In this country the many cities which are today suffering from the soft coal smoke could find similar relief. If gas could be delivered to consumers in London on such a wholesale scale at forty cents per thousand cubic feet-the price the engineers figure onthere is little doubt that similar results could be obtained in many of our LUNG OF COAL MINER Who Has WORKED FIVE YEARS IN THE Shaft. large cities located within a hundred or two hundred miles of power would be derived entirely from gas coal mines. Such delivery of cheap fuel under compression. gas would stimulate industry to such a As a rival of electricity gas transmispoint that probably the consumption sion promises to occupy certain fields would increase fully fifty per cent within which will make present methods of disa few years. The gas engine would tribution somewhat antiquated. This become such an important factor in change, however, does not pre-suppose the our industrial conditions that it would elimination of the electric motor. On the create a revolution in existing manu- contrary the value of the electric motor facturing.
would be greatly enhanced. The only More than half the charges made on change is the substitution of gas pipes coal used by consumers in cities today is for long-distance lines of electrical transin the form of freight or transportation mission. It is a well ascertained fact rates. By utilizing the coal at the mouth among engineers that the gas can be of the mine and transmitting the energy made and transmitted from the mouth of in the form of gas to the cities the rail- the coal mine to distant industrial centers roads would suffer, but the public and much cheaper than electricity can be manufacturing interests would be enor- made and transmitted. In the cities the mously benefited. In constructing great gas would be used in gas engines to drive certain forms of machinery direct, and enormous. The large compressor at the also for the generation of electricity mines would have to be supplemented by which could then be more economically a similarly large and expensive producer distributed to private consumers. The plant. A high pressure sufficient to carry whole question, of course, comes down to the gas a hundred miles or more would the actual cost and efficiency of gas trans- likewise necessitate reducing-pressure mission on an enormous scale. It is not plants at the receiving stations, and the likely that all of the factors of such a cost of these would form a considerable stupendous problem can be solved theo- item of initial expense. In utilizing the retically, and in actual practice there gas for electrical generation through the would be found some disadvantages and employment of gas engines in the cities,
drawbacks not considered in the original the electrical transmission line would be estimates. But after making a wide abolished and also the large sub-stations margin for such unforeseen contingen- and transforming stations; but otherwise cies, the figures show that gas transmis- the cost of generating electricity from gas sion from coal-pile to our cities promises engines would remain about the same as great economy in fuel consumption and today if the fuel sold for the same price. high efficiency. One of the drawbacks But it is estimated that gas as a fuel would apparently be in the burning of could then be supplied abundantly at gas on a large scale, which would to a about half its present cost. certain extent tend to vitiate the atmos- By utilizing the expansion of the gas phere of the town. This, however, would from two hundred and fifty pounds presbe overcome by the construction of smoke sure down to atmosphere in a suitable stacks of proper height to carry the un- engine, about ten kilowatts could be obburnt gases into the upper air. At the tained from a direct-coupled dynamo worst, however, this would be far prefer- from each one thousand cubic feet of gas able to the consumption of soft coal in per minute. If the gas should be heated the city with all the smoke, soot, gases before it enters the motor, the power and ashes that are freed thereby.
could be increased nearly fifty per cent The cost of the original plant would be through the consumption of two to three