Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Coal in England
Note: I had asked Jonathan about English "smokeless fuel" to see if that might be a way we in America should regulate emissions rather than by regulating applinaces.- Jim
Date: 30 Jan 96
From: Jonathan Brind <email@example.com>
To: "Jim Buckley"
I will certainly link your page to mine, if you will return the favour.
In Britain we did go down the opposite route, but I'm not sure it did us any
good. When the 1956 Clean Air Act was passed solid fuel had 90% of the heating
market. Today it has more like 8%. This wasn't entirely due to the law (central
heating and natural gas also came along) but it certainly didn't help. In
general the whole principle of the act was doubtful. For a start air quality is
now worse than it ever was thanks to the intensive use of the motor car, which
was never covered by the act. Also in Britain we built smokeless fuel plants to
convert smoky coal into clean burning fuel. These plants themselves created
quite a bit of pollution in the early days, though they are relatively clean
In America wood is the dominant solid fuel and there is no way to turn wood into
a smokeless fuel without incurring huge costs. And burning wood has other
environmental benefits. It encourages forestation and tree growth as well as
forest management. If you were to go down the fuel route you'd have to switch to
pellets or perhaps anthracite. You could, of course, burn low sulphur pet coke
but I don't think the world supply would be sufficient for the American market
and I believe there is a considerable feeling against it in America.
In general I think you have the right ideas, though someone is going to have to
come up with a better cat before I am convinced that they are a long term
economic bet! Secondary combustion of flue gas must make sense.
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