541 Natural

Natural-gas firing in combustors has traditionally been the most attractive fuel type, because:

1. Gas costs were low until about 2000 when they started to rise dramatically.

2. Only limited fuel-handling equipment typically consisting of pipelines, metering, a liquid knockout drum, and appropriate controls is required.

3. Boiler costs are minimized due to smaller boiler sizes; which result from highly radiant flame charac-

teristics and higher velocities, resulting in enhanced heat transfer and less heating surface.

4. Freedom from capital and operating costs associated with pollution control equipment.

Natural gas, being the cleanest readily available conventional form of fuel, also makes gas-fired units the easiest to operate and maintain.

However, as discussed elsewhere, the continued use of natural gas as fuel to most combustors will probably be limited in the future by government regulations, rising fuel costs, and inadequate supplies. One further disadvantage, which often seems to be overlooked, is the lower boiler efficiency that results from firing gas, particularly when compared to oil or coal.

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