Message Boards

Message Boards (
-   Steamboats & History (
-   -   Coal Oil? (

Stephen McMullen 03-17-2012 09:53 PM

Coal Oil?
What do steamboats use to fire the boilers? Coal Oil?



Bob Reynolds 03-17-2012 10:12 PM

"Coal oil" is another name for kerosene. The NATCHEZ and BELLE OF LOUISVILLE use #2 fuel oil, commonly known as diesel fuel. The DELTA QUEEN used bunker "C" fuel oil, also known as #6 fuel oil, for most of her career; #6 oil must be heated to atomize properly at the burners. #6 oil was the preferred fuel oil for steamboats for years, due to its relatively low cost and high BTU's. Diesel fuel is the most commonly used fuel oil now due to wide availablity and ease of handling and burning in atomizing boiler burners.

Mathew Stage 03-18-2012 10:59 AM

[QUOTE=Bob Reynolds;29170] Diesel fuel is the most commonly used fuel oil now due to wide availablity and ease of handling and burning in atomizing boiler burners.[/QUOTE]

Also because of the environmental factors we burn #2 now, a lot of the reason #6 gives you up to about 156,000 BTU/gal and #2 only gives 130,000 BTU/gal is all the "metholfloraldeath" in the less refined oil that in turn puts pollution into the environment when burned. Less reputable produces are known for mixing in anything they want to get rid of thats toxic, old thinner, heavy metals, biohazardous waste, chemical waste, literally anything and everything to add "weight" to the fuel.

Burning #6, especially if the ship doesn't purify it (which then requires to be landed, and if not properly disposed of is an even larger problem), is a real concern for our environment, especially in the inland waters.

Dan Lewis 03-19-2012 07:16 PM

I think an advantage of marine boiler systems in the past and the present is the versatility of fuels. As our society moves towards more environmentally healthy fuels, I think boiler systems can certainly adapt to new fuels to maintain viability.

Stephen McMullen 03-19-2012 10:07 PM

Environmental Concerns
With as few real steamboats that exist, I would think environmental concerns would not play into it.

What did the Admiral and the President use when they were under steam?

Did the President ever have coal bunkers?

Lexie Palmore 03-20-2012 09:37 AM

Do power plants still burn Bunker C? That's where I think the bulk of it used to go, by the barge load.

Frank X. Prudent 03-20-2012 11:24 AM

[QUOTE=Stephen McMullen;29187]With as few real steamboats that exist, I would think environmental concerns would not play into it.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The Lake Michigan car ferry S.S. BADGER ([url=http://WWW.SSBADGER.COM]S.S. Badger[/url]) is facing an uncertain future due to her burning coal and dumping the ash and spent cinders overboard. I am not sure of the current status, but when I crossed on her this past summer the word was, unless expensive updates can be made, this 2012 season may be her last.

Bob Reynolds 03-20-2012 05:07 PM

Sometimes, but more and more they are using natural gas if they don't burn coal. Most now have the option to switch back and forth. Paper mills use it from time to time, too, but I have not delivered any #6 oil to a power plant or paper mill in a couple of years.

Lately, we have moved a lot of #6 oil to the Gulf for trans-shipping to China.

Greg Weber 03-21-2012 09:27 PM

Frank is exactly right, and what a crime it will be if the Badger is forced into premature retirement due to these insane regulations. When one considers the tens of thousands of vehicles carried yearly and the millions of driving miles saved in the process, well, the greatest comedy writers of all time couldn't make this stuff up! Plus, consider the huge economic impact the ship's demise would have on Manitowoc and especially Ludington. My family vacationed for many years in the Ludington area and always traveled there via the Badger. We would have never done so if forced to make the agonizing, white knuckle drive around Chicago. When today's gas prices are factored into the equation, the Badger never made more sense than it does today.

Stephen McMullen 04-01-2012 01:02 AM

Environmental Concerns
Well hey, I clean water and air as much as the next guy, but it is INSANE to insist that we keep our "white gloves" clean over here while China dumps tons of dirty nasty pollutants in the air daily......and I do believe it is the same air
we have on this side of the planet too (there are tradewinds, you know).

Good God, man, whatever happened to COMMON SENSE in this country.
Don't bother answering......we all know the answer.

I mean, I am as much a tree hugger than anyone but, come ON, now!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:16 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
All content on this site is copyright protected and may not be re-used without written permission.