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Does steam and diesel have a future?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 22A, Nov 8, 2021.

  1. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    ..... and with improved undergubbins! I'm really looking forward to clapping eyes on it, back where it belongs. I doubt too many remember what it looked like under a clean trainshed roof at Brighton (the glass up there had been absolutely filthy for very many years!)

    If reports are to be believed, the infamous Keymer Jnc may have spilled it's last cup of tea. Until I experience it for myself, the jury most definitely remains out on that one!
     
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  2. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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  3. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    Could this be done on the Isle of Wight electric railway, on the sections where the loading gauge permits?
     
  4. used2be

    used2be New Member

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    Climate change has already brought us weather extremes
    if we continue as we are, then the current extremes will become so extreme that life will become very difficult.

    I cannot see why steam locos will be operated in the future.
    Lets be honest the private steam railways in the U.K. only survive because of donations.
     
  5. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Are you on the right forum? :D
     
  6. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    My mother said she was taken on a trip once at the end of term by her father, and even then (late 50s) was warned about the ride, and when to try to drink.
     
  7. 240P15

    240P15 Well-Known Member

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    deleted
     
  8. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    we have had extreme weather since the year dot.
     
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  9. 22A

    22A New Member

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    Even documented in the Book of Genesis. :)
     
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  10. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Having read up some more on Torrefacation, I think that is the way to go. Essentially, it seems to me to be creating charcoal and using the gas generated to burn off more of the volatile content, after which the product is turned into brickettes, so it is a low energy process. The product is claimed to have a high energy density and would be largely smokeless. If it was further compressed under high pressure it might well prove to be an acceptable alternative to coal.
     
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  11. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    The availability of coal and possible substitutes, inclusing torrefied biomass, have their own thread: https://national-preservation.com/threads/the-threat-to-coal.1417743/
     
  12. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    So it does, but the question seemed to be implying that a shortage ofcoal might end the use of steam even if burning it isn't prohibited. I was simply pointing it out that there will eventually be alternatives.
     
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  13. 2392

    2392 Member

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    Whilst I'm no great fan of McDonalds, I've seen in some of their latest adverts that they're converting their used cooking oil into Bio Diesel for their trucks. So no doubt their competitors will be following suit to before long. Whilst as Bio Diesel it should be ok for diesel locomotive's I'm not sure for steam. But I shouldn't think there'd be much of a problem what with there already being knowledge out there of oil burning steamers. After IIRC the A1SLT have made provision to convert Tornado to burn oil of some kind.
     
  14. 45045

    45045 New Member

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    Then there is the company. Biobean, I think, that for a few years now collects coffee grounds and creates diesel, fertilizer and coffee logs (as a log substitute).
     
  15. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    All very worthy, but I would imagine that McDonalds and similar chains probably use all the oil that they recycle in their own vehicles - and even if the don't there are other users clamouring for the leftovers - sustainable aviation fuel as well as motor fuels can be made from various types of organic oils but I've yet to read of a solid fuel-fired aeroplane! I imagine other users would get priority over heritage steam.
     
  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    My hunch is also that if steam locos have a long-term future, biocoal is the way to go. Firstly, I think there would be less modification needed of existing locos; secondly there is the visceral point about still shovelling a solid fuel - which is part of what visitors come to see. Then the question is the process of how you produce it.

    I think a growing market, see e.g.



    That company uses a different process to torrefaction, but I think the output product is broadly similar to torrefaction (they claim an 85% energy yield, i.e. for every one mega joule of energy content in the product, you need 150kJ for the process).

    (AIUI, torrefaction is an anaerobic pyrolysis of organic matter, i.e. heating in an inert dry atmosphere. The water content and volatiles are driven off, starchy compounds break down etc to a high-carbon fuel. The process is essentially akin to traditional ways to make charcoal. The other process is hydrothermal carbonisation, where the organic matter is heated at high pressure and temperature with water, but the same chemical break down occurs).

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
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  17. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    That's my hunch too. So far as modifications, from the (admittedly little) I've read on testing suggests if the pellets/briquettes are produced to "lump of coal" size (sizing to customer spec seems a strong plus point with this tech), likely not. Testing on a 15in gauge loco (Milwaukee Zoo Rly) by https://csrail.org/ involved a pierced flat steel sheet, to cope with pellets which would otherwise have dropped between existing firebars.

    Although the csrail tests are the only directly rail-related application I've come across, there's a fair bit available on other uses and the basic production process remains the same .... just a different mould to create the desired shape.

    I've seen nothing whatever in test reports concerning ash content (particulate size, potential hazards) for spent torrified fuel pellets. My suspicion is that, had there been any significant concerns, they'd have been mentioned somewhere.
     
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  18. baldbof

    baldbof Part of the furniture Friend

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    Looking at some of the stuff chucked out of the back end of the jet pipes of some older aircraft (e.g Boeing 707/DC-8/Vulcan/F4 Phantom/C-130 Hercules/Concorde 002), it was easy to imagine that they had a stoker as member of the crew.,
     
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  19. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Off-topic, I know, but I can't resist a quick reply:

    There are two independent bodies of evidence (evaporative deposits in caves, and sediment layers in the Persian Gulf) which show that there were major climate changes at the time of the collapse of the Akkadian Empire (ca. 2150 BC), which are widely thought to have been a major factor in said collapse. See also the Maya, Anasazi, etc, etc, etc.

    It will certainly be amusing (well, to some of us) if the world de-carbonifies, only to discover that climate change continues to happen anyway.

    Noel
     
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  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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