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Fuel Research

    Naturevolume 134pages805806 (1934) | Download Citation



    FUEL research was discussed by Sir Harry McGowan, who succeeds Sir William Larke as president of the Institute of Fuel, in his presidential address on November 12. Experience, he said, has taught him the vital connexion between research of all varieties and commercial and financial pros perity, whether it is applied to the improve ment of present methods of working an existing process, to the production of an entirely new commodity as an alternative or substitute for one now in use, to the safety of those who labour in industry, or to an examination of the demands of the consumer. Research in one industry cannot ignore the results of research in others, for all economic facts are intimately connected, and a change in any part of the economic structure inevitably induces changes in other parts. Our national fuel asset is coal, and our original industrial monopoly was based upon the introduction of steam power and the development of railways. Development, though world-wide, has not, however, been uniform; it has a ragged front, and new knowledge is continually changing relative national positions. Sir Harry McGowan referred to the domestic use of raw coal, which is still preferred to smokeless semi-coke by the ladies who command the household and value a cheerful flame above the more economical and healthy use of coal. More propaganda and technical research are needed tQ bring home to the public what coal can do in the home. Sir Harry mentioned that whole suburbs of cities in France are heated by a high-pressure hot water ring main based on coal, and that an astonish ing economy in fuel has been achieved. On the other hand, the industrial users of coal base their demands on specific requirements as to effective heat value. Sorting and grading are usual, and much better coal than was previously thought obtainable has been brought on the market.

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