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producer gas

producer gas, fuel gas consisting chiefly of carbon monoxide and nitrogen. It is prepared in a furnace or generator in which air is forced upward through a burning fuel of coal or coke. Although the fuel is introduced through the top, no air is admitted there. The carbon of the fuel is oxidized by the oxygen of the air from below to form the carbon monoxide. The nitrogen of the air, being inert, passes through the fire without change. When steam is introduced with the air, the final gaseous product contains hydrogen also. Producer gas has a low heating value because it is about 60% inert nitrogen. It is widely used in industry because it can be made with cheap fuel. When producer gas contains hydrogen, it is also a source material for the manufacture of synthetic ammonia.

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water gas

water gas, colorless poisonous gas that burns with an intensely hot, bluish (nearly colorless) flame. The gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen with very small amounts of other gases, e.g., carbon dioxide, and is almost entirely combustible as a result. Water gas is so named because of the use of water (steam) in its preparation. This process involves treating white-hot hard coal or coke with a blast of steam; carbon monoxide and hydrogen are formed. The gas is manufactured in vast quantities for commercial use. It is of much importance in the preparation of hydrogen and as a fuel in the making of steel and in other industrial processes, e.g., the Fischer-Tropsch process.

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