Talk:Producer gas

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Inaccuracy in USA section[edit]

I'm under the impression that producer gas refers to gas produced by blowing air at a slow rate through a deep bed of burning anthracite, coke, or charcoal; the exhaust, containing carbon monoxide, is the "producer gas". I believe Nisbet Ladda, writing in American Producer Gas Practice (1907) - it's on Google Book Search - clearly shows that producer gas only refers to one type of gas: partial combustion leading to a hot carbon monoxide-based gas with a limited quantity of hydrogen.


Producer gas does not refer to "town gas" (artificial gas created by heating coal in the absence of oxygen, used before natural gas was used), or "water gas"/"syngas" (produced by adding steam to oxygen-starved bed of burning coals - resulting in a mixture of CO and H2). The modern practice of flaming pyrolysis of wood bears some semblance to producer gas production, but is different, as the gasses produced are different.Katana0182 (talk) 06:44, 31 July 2009 (UTC)


Actually, thats half right. Town Gas and Producer Gas are the same thing, and both are created by "cooking" any solid fuel at high temperatures, exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and then a small stream of air and steam is blown through the producer to equalize the pressure between the intake and the suction from the exhaut manifold through which the gas exits the producer. This originated from the steam air injector used to blow the air into the bottom of the producer without having any mechanical parts. The water vapor is literally torn apart by the carbon atoms, thereby creating both carbon monoxide and hydrogen molecules, as well as other complex combustible hydrocarbons. The gas passes through a scrubber, of which there were literally hundreds of different designs, often using water as the filter, to both condense and clean tar from the gas and cool the gas(This is often done in a tower filled with coke, while water is sprayed at the top of the tower the gas rises up through the coke and water, thereby efficiently scrubbing the tar out of the combustible gaseous fuel and cooling the remaing fuel). The cooling is also beneficial as the cooler the temperature the greater the mass of a cubic foot of the gas. Upon the burning of the producer gas, the hydrogen is first ignited, then causing the other hydrocarbons to burn and converting the carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. THey are both generic names for fundamentaly the same substance, however due to the hundred of designs and combinations of different components, the gasses are all varied slightly. This is all found including many diagrams in Gas Producers, published in 1916 by the American School of Correspondence.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Damhnaic2010 (talkcontribs) 21:49, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Town gas was gas any fuel gas other than natural gas supplied by a local or town gas company for heating and lighting. Coal gas, Lowe's water gas, etc. Producer gas from coke, charcoal or anthracite was unsuitable for illumination prior to the introduction of the gas mantle lamp. I have not found a date (after 1881) if or when the illuminating quality was not required or used. DRGert (talk) 18:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


While authors from the early twentieth century made a distinction between gas produced using coal and gas made using biomass, by the end of the century the term Producer Gas was and continues to be used by the experts to describe gas made by passing air over a hot bed of coals whether coal, coke or biomass. See:

Doug Williams of New Zeland's Fluidyne Gasification Producer Gas Engine Oil and Soot http://www.fluidynenz.250x.com/

The United States Handbook of Biomass Downdraft Gasifier Engine Systems U.S. DOE by T.B. Reed and A. Das 1988 p. 4 1.3.5 Producer Gas Research

and The United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO) FAO 72 Woodgas as Engine Fuel ( Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ) 1986

p. 8

2.1 Fuelling of engines by producer gas —Preceding unsigned comment added by Happimac (talkcontribs) 20:48, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

The early authors may have made some distinction based on fuel sources, but they did distinguish between gas made by distillation and producer gas made from various fuels. The ambiguity in early literature may depend more on the author's expertise than any confusion on the part of experts. While the ambiguity should be duly noted, the distinction is clear enough and producer gas should be kept separate from gas made by distillation. DRGert (talk) 18:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

RE: "producer gas only refers to one type of gas: partial combustion" using a mixture of air and steam... See page 12 of Nisbet. 'Endothermic agents' indicates the injection of steam into the process except in cases where there is sufficient moisture in the fuel to supply the needed water. Nisbet neglected to clearly indicate the fact at the beginning. Like most authors on the subject, he assumed that the reader is familiar enough with the process to know that steam is routinely injected.

The list of terms should be edited and the UK section may be inaccurate, unless there is a lack of distinction in the UK between air, water and producer gas when used for vehicles. A distinction needs to be clearly made between traditional producer gas and related fuel gasses and the modern syngas used for chemical production. These are confused in mostof the articles.

There are numerous articles that should be cross referenced and tied together or summarized under manufactured gas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_gas has a fairly complete "See Also" list.

A more complete list with links to the various articles would be as follows:

Various names are used for producer gas, air gas and water gas generally depending on the fuel source, process or end use including:

• Water gas: Produced by injection of steam into fuel preheated by combustion with air. The reaction is endothermic so the fuel must be continually re-heated to keep the reaction going. This was usually done by alternating the steam stream with an air stream. Water gas is composed mostly of CO and H2O. This names is sometimes used incorrectly when describing carburetted blue water gas simply as blue water gas.

• Air gas: AKA “power gas,” “generator gas” or “Siemen’s producer gas.” Produced from various fuels by partial combustion with air. Air gas consists principally of carbon monoxide with nitrogen from the air used and a small amount of hydrogen. This term is not commonly used, and tends to be used synonymously with wood gas.

• Producer gas: Produced by simultaneous injection of air and water or steam to maintain a constant temperature and obtain a higher heat content gas by enrichment of air gas with H2. Current usage often includes air gas.

• Semi-water gas: Producer gas.

• Blue water-gas: Air, water or producer gas produced from clean fuels such as coke, charcoal and anthracite which contain insufficient hydrocarbon impurities for use as illuminating gas. Blue gas burns with a blue flame and does not produce light except when used with a Weisbach mantle.

• Lowe’s Water Gas: Water gas with a secondary pyrolysis reactor to introduce hydrocarbon gasses for illuminating purposes. [7], [9]

• Carbutetted gas: Any gas produced by a process similar to Lowe’s in which hydrocarbons are added for illumination purposes.

• Wood gas: produced from wood by partial combustion. Sometimes used in a gasifier to power cars with ordinary internal combustion engines.

• Coal Gas or Illuminating gas: Produced from coal by distillation.

• Coke Oven Gas: Coke ovens give off a gas exactly similar to illuminating gas, part of which is used to heat the coal. There may be a large excess, however, which is used for industrial purposes after it has been purified.

• City (Town) gas: any of the above manufactured gases containing sufficient hydrocarbons to produce a bright flame for illumination purposes, originally produced from coal, for sale to consumers and municipalities.

• Syngas, or synthesis gas: (from synthetic gas or synthesis gas) can be applied to any of the above gasses, but generally refers modern industrial processes, such as natural gas reforming, hydrogen production, and processes for synthetic production of methane and other hydrocarbons.

Additional references:

4. Power: devoted to the generation and transmission of power, Volume 26 1906 p.685-688http://books.google.com/books?id=DcEfAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA687&lpg=PA687&dq=producer+gas+steam+engine&source=bl&ots=AA0PJG9-hH&sig=EAlaUjB1SkAvSAG8wwETCUb37sI&hl=en&ei=B0C1Ton5BurU2AX6hOzQDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&sqi=2&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBg

5. Producer Gas Plants by Russell Thomas http://independent.academia.edu/RussellThomas/Papers/116018/Producer_Gas_Plants

6. Farmer, Weston. From My Old Boatshop, 1979 International Marine Publishing, p. 176-198

7. 7. CONVERSION OF SOLID FUELS TO LOW BTU GAS Thomas E. Ban McDowell-Wellman Engineering Company Cleveland, Ohio 44110

8. Encyclopedia of chemical processing and design, Volume 1By Rayford G. Anthony, John J. McKetta, William A. Cunningham p 68 1979 Marcel Dekker inc. http://books.google.com/books?id=GnHmqU0zyfYC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=%22galusha+gas+producer%22&source=bl&ots=lHSla6XNEq&sig=lsIhi5t3n9qtTX2PBz-W9TFVGWA&hl=en&ei=0Pm3TsC2EOLo0QGkjNiFCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22galusha%20gas%20producer%22&f=false

9. Proceedings of the American Gas Light Association ... By American Gas Light Association, 1881 http://books.google.com/books?id=OSNLAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA116&dq=%E2%80%9CLowe+Water+Gas+Process%E2%80%9D&hl=en&ei=MwC4TrPaH4OesQL3mK26Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9CLowe%20Water%20Gas%20Process%E2%80%9D&f=false DRGert (talk) 18:52, 7 November 2011 (UTC)