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29th December 1933
Page 40
Page 41
Page 40, 29th December 1933 — Promising
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Producer-gas Developments

Plant for Fordsons Standardized and a 6-former to be Introduced. Claimed Fuel Consumption at Rate of 8 Pay-load Ton-miles for One Penny

TN Tito Commercial , Motor dated 'January 20, 1933, we described a producer-gas plant, employing an unorthodox principle, which had been installed by its inventor in a Ford van. We are now able to publish particulars of the apparatus in its latest form, and to state that, as forecast in our issue dated November 3, a company has been formed under the name of High Speed Gas (Great Britain), Ltd., with offices at 20, Victoria Street, London, S.W.1, for its production.

Furthermore, we understand tha■: u30

arrangements have been made with a well-known concern for the manufacture of a 6-tonner designed from first principles to run on gas, as distinct from a chassis converted for this fuel.

Briefly to outline the main features of the plant, it employs anthracite, coke or charcoal as fuel, air and water being drawn in to the base of the pro ducer by engine suction. It differs, however, from conventional gas-producers in that the gas is extracted from a point only slightly above the level of the tuyere instead of from the top. Thus the gas is drawn from a small combustion space, the centre of which is at the tip, as it were, of the jet of air from the tuyere. Although small in volume, its temperature is very high —it is, indeed, known to exceed 2,300 degrees C.

The new plant is installed in a Fordson 2-ton lorry, the performance of which was recently demonstrated to a representative of this paper.

Amongst the improvements is a completely water-cooled tuyere, the component being jacketed and supplied, by thermo-siphon, with water from the engine-cooling system. Because of the localized nature of the combustion " space, the small amount of clinker and ash that forms falls on only a small area of the bottom of the producer.

A Practical Fitment.

Originally no special provision was made for periodically disposing of these accumulated substances. On the improved plant, however, there is a leveroperated clinker shifter, by means of which waste matter is transferred to the ash-pan below, and need not be removed until the end of a long day's run, or several hundreds of miles—a feature of great practical advantage.

Another addition to the producer is a surplus-gas lamp, the object of which is to dispose of the inflammable vapour remaining in the system after shutting down. As a precaution against fare, the burner is surrounded by gauze, the device functioning on the Davy-lamp principle.

A further precaution is the provision of a flap valve at the main air intake. This is held in the closed position by gravity or internal pressure, but offers little resistance to entering air. These items have been added in order to reduce fare risks below those of petrol vehicles and of anticipating adverse prejudice in connection with the erroneous supposition that the gas is poisonous.

From the producer, gas passes to a large expansion chamber carried across the rear of the frame. In this there is a series of baffles which cause heavy dust, etc., to be deposited. They can readily be withdrawn for cleaning as a unit. Thence it travels to the filter, which has been much enlarged. Here the gas must penetrate through compressed sisal tow, and some ten thicknesses of gauze, from which it emerges in a clean state.

Apparatus Scientifically Mounted.

The producer and filter are mounted respectively in each front corner of the lorry body, each occupying a space about 1 ft. 6 ins. square. They are strongly mounted by A supports, the legs of which are bolted to two adjacent body cross-bearers. This construction should stand the roughest Colonial conditions.

It would be possible to accommodate both components in the cal), if preferred, but such a practice would in valve structural alterationsef the standard chassis and cab which the designers of the plant were anxious to avoid, the plant described being, so far as possible, standard, abroad as well as in this country, for lorries of from 1 ton to 3 tons capacity. Apart from the small reduction of body space, the only drawback of the present arrangement seems to be that it precludes the use of a tipping body.

Except in the construction of the manifold three-way change-over valve, controls, etc., there is no great alteration at the engine end of the system. One control operates the change-over valve, a common throttle valve is actuated by the accelerator, whilst the original petrol throttle is set for a fast tick over, being used only for starting

up. There is also an extra air control. The petrol tap is linked to the change-over gear.

Petrol System Used for Water.

Water is carried in the original fuel tank, being pumped to the sight dip feed on the dashboard by the standard fuel pump. A vacuum gauge is provided to indicate that-the apparatus is functioning correctly, and its connections are so arranged that it will show the depression existing at either side of the filter, thus if its reading is abnormally high the driver can ascertain whether there is a stoppage in the filter or an accumulation of slag in the pro clucer, The usual reading is not more than 1/15 atmosphere. There is also a thermometer, showing gas temperature, its normal reading is below 00 degrees F.

The 50 beep. engine is standard, except for the use of a special head made by the Aluminium Alloy Cylinder Head Co., Ltd., 87, Regent Street, London, WA, which gives a compression ratio of 7i to 1. The complete plant weighs under 5 cwt., and its cost, ready for installation is £70.

With a low-geared back axle and 2 tons of load the vehicle is said to be capable of over 40 m.p.h., with some 10 per cent, less power than is afforded by petrol, but in view of the fact that anthracite "peas," the fuel employed, cost ns. per ton, and that the consumption is said to be 0.8 lb. per mile, the fuel costs are less than id. per mile.

In our presence, the engine was started up from cold, and was running on gas in less than 34 minutes. Its behaviour, on the road, unladen, gave no indication that it was not using petrol, The power unit could be stopped and restarted after the lapse of a few minutes, and, we are informed, can he restarted on petrol without rekindling the fire of the producer, after a period of about three-quarters of an hour, more or less, according to conditions. It appears to be able to run light indefinitely, at ticking-over speeds, without choking.

The inventor holds the view that such results with a production machine of this type are of less importance here than abroad, and that it is the performance of the heavier type of transport engine that will constitute proof of success and economy in this country of the new methods employed. However, we hope in due course to publish the results of our standard road test of one of the larger vehicles to which we referred earlier, and which we under' stand will shortly be available..


Locations: London

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