|Gas Production - Making gas|
|Early gas retorts were horizontal tubes about 12" in diameter which were charged (filled with coal) and, having given off the gas, discharged (the coke removed) by hand through an iron door at one end called the mouthpiece. It was slow, dirty back breaking work.|
These retorts were made of iron and distorted badly with prolonged heating. Fire clay retorts with iron lids were introduced around 1822 and the through retort (charged at one end, discharged from the other)
was developed by George Lowe in 1831.
As the demand for gas grew, so the efficiency of the methods of making it improved. Automatic stoking machines were first used in 1868 and gravity fed, inclined retorts were developed by Andre Coze of Rheims in 1885.
The next major advance was the invention of the vertical retort in early 1900. Continuous vertical retorts could produce 2 1/2 times as much as the old horizontal retorts on a given land area and were cleaner and more efficient.
After a century and a half of using coal, attention began to be focused on using oil as the raw material for gas production. The gas industry's Midlands Research Station developed cyclic operation of gasification plant in the 1950s and by 1960 this was in commercial use.
At about the same time, ICI was using a continuous catalytic reforming process for producing hydrogen from naphtha (low grade petrol). Because town gas was largely hydrogen it was logical to adopt this efficient process and the first plants were built in Bromley (London) and Sheffield in 1963. (See Making gas from oil)
Return to Home Page |
Making gas from oil |
The Natural Gas Era |
Conversion to natural gas