ALTHOUGH coal is generally the cheapest fuel on the basis of heating value it has been at a disadvantage in competition with other fuels because means have not been available for efficient Conversion of its thermal energy to me0hanical work. Taking the railway application as an example, the cost of Diesel oil is about five times that of its thermal equivalent in coal, but the overall efficiency of a Diesel locomotive is about five times that of a coal-fired steam locomotive. Accordingly, the Canadian rail ways are replacing all coal-fired steam Locomotives, as they are retired from service, with Dies-el units. This conversion in itself represents a major loss to the coal industry because the value of railway fuel is approximately 130 million dollars per year, and there are other applications in the medium power range where oil is 1displacing coal. The.re is, therefore, a strong incentive to attempt development of an efficient coal-burning engine.
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