Water Gas

Water gas is a synthesis gas, containing carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It is a useful product but requires careful handling because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The gas is made by passing steam over a red-hot carbon fuel such as coke:

H2O + C → H2 + CO (ΔH = +131 kJ/mol)

The reaction is endothermic so the fuel must be continually re-heated to keep the reaction going. In order to do this, an air stream, which alternates with the vapor stream, is introduced for the combustion of carbon to take place.

O2 + C → CO2 (ΔH = −393.5 kJ/mol)

Theoretically to make 6 L of water gas, 5 L of air is required.

Or alternatively to prevent contamination with nitrogen, energy can be provided by using pure oxygen to burn carbon into carbon monoxide.

O2 + 2 C → 2 CO (ΔH = −221 kJ/mol)

In this case 1 L of oxygen will create 5.3 L of pure water gas

Read more about Water Gas:  History, See Also

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