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Name: Daniel
Status: Educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: AZ
Country: United States
Date: June 2008


Question:
I want to build a scale Karrick LTC, but cannot find any blueprints or instructions. . . ideas?



Replies:
It would be difficult to build a working scale version of a Karrick processor because it has many parts, and the temperatures are many hundreds of degrees. Actual blueprints would not help because they would be drawn for the peculiarities of a real, large refinery, and the relative sizes of parts to make a working miniature version would be different. Now, if you would like to build a non-working model to look at, I would suggest actually not doing that. Instead, it would be better to learn about the process, or to make drawings of a processor with interesting comments that explain how it works. There are drawings on the Internet but they are difficult to understand and drawings that better explain the parts would be useful for other students. Some web sites have much information about how the process occurs, and there is a lot of interesting things that go on, especially when looking at the temperatures used, and the kinds of products that are made.

Robert Erck


Many processes have been invented to convert one type of fuel into another type of fuel. Some of these processes are over 200 years old.

Almost any conversion that you can think of can be done. Natural gas to H2 and CO2. Oil to diesel. Methanol to H2 and CO2. And so on and so on.

The Karrick process takes coal and produces fuels that contain energy but are not very useful: a large amount of "char", a barrel of tar, and a gas mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, as well as CO2.

Yes, it works, but then are these products worth all the expense and the cost of the coal? Also, there is always a penalty: energy is consumed to make the process run. You always end up with less energy than you started with when you change from one fuel to another. So, fuel processing is the last resort if you must absolutely have a certain product and there is no other choice.

If there is nothing but coal as a resource and diesel fuel is desperately needed, yes, Karrick and Fischer-Tropsch can be used to make diesel. But the process will be expensive, dirty, and you'll use up a lot of coal.

Robert Erck



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