Transamerica Delaval Runs Diesel On Liquid Coal —Report Available

A program to test the practicality of operating diesel engines on fuel derived from coal reached a landmark recently with the operation of a Transamerica Delaval test engine on pure coal liquid at full load. Announcement of the test was made by Clinton S. Mathews, general manager of the Engine and Compressor Division.

The Department of Energy awarded a $475,000 grant to Transamerica Delaval, Oakland, Calif., last year to find the best ways to overcome problems involved in burning coal liquid, called SRC-II, in large engines.

In the past, liquids derived from coal such as SRC-II could not be used in larger, mediumspeed diesels because their ignition required higher temperatures and pressures than diesel engines could generate. On the cetane scale, which is used to measure fuel ignition properties, conventional diesel oil is rated from 40 to as high as 60, but SRC-II is virtually zero, and can even have a negative number.

Using SRC-II in only one of the test engine's six cylinders to conserve the limited supply of coal liquid formulation available, the program is examining two ways of giving coal liquid the help it needs to burn in diesels.

The first test is an engine modification involving a pilot injection system which spurts a small amount of diesel fuel into the combustion chamber, followed by the mainline introduction of SRCII.

The normal heat of compression in diesels ignites the diesel oil pilot fuel which, in turn, "blow-torches" the coal liquid with enough heat to fire it.

A second method being tested under a variety of conditions is to pre-mix the coal liquid and diesel oil, injecting the blend with preheated intake air into the combustion chamber with no modification to the engine. First a blend of 60 percent SRC-II and 40 percent diesel oil was used, running the engine at varying loads. Then, increasing p r o p o r t i o n s of the SRC-II were used up to 100 percent.

Operating well at all blends, the engine made history by becoming the first medium-speed diesel to operate on pure coal liquid, at full load.

A full report on the diesel-coal liquid test program is being prepared for publication by Transamerica Delaval and will be available this fall. To reserve your free copy, W r i t e 5 2 on Reader Service Card

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 41,  Aug 15, 1981

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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.