Coal fuel and oil fuel

Propulsion systems, machinery, turbines, boilers, propellers, fuel consumption, etc.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Coal fuel and oil fuel

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:59 pm

I know that vessels like Titanic or Lusitania were coal fueled, as were the ships of the Grand Fleet and the High Seas Fleet. As a matter of fact Jutland was a battle between coal fueled warships.
But Hood, a WWI Battlecruiser which building began in 1916 was oil fueled.
This rise a couple of questions:
1. When the navies changed the adopted fuel from coal to oil?
2. Which was the first capital ship that used the new fuel?
3. Apart from the logical advantages regarding consumption which are the overall advantages of the oil over coal: weight, power output?

Best regards.
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Gary
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Postby Gary » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:09 pm

Hi Karl.

The first oil fired British dreadnoughts were the Queen Elizabeth class.
All British dreadnoughts thereafter were oil too.
Iron Duke was the last class of coal fired British Dreadnoughts.
The advantages were that it was much quicker to re-fuel, the ship could raise steam and accelarate quicker and no doubt it was better for the health of the men (no horrible black coal dust in the air) also, you didnt get the huge black column of smoke from the funnel.
The Disadvantage was that oil had to be imported where as the British had 2 or 300 hundred years worth of coal in their mines.

I could be wrong but I believe Derfflinger was fitted with both coal and oil fired boilers making her "duel fuel".
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Postby tommy303 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:43 pm

The labour involved was also an important consideration. Oil fired ships did not need the huge compliment of stokers, and of course trimmers who kept the coal evenly distributed in the ship were now unnecessary since oil could be evenly pumped to adjust trim. The space saved by eliminating coal bunkers allowed for more powerful machinery, better watertight subdivision, and potentially better torpedo defence systems.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
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marcelo_malara
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Postby marcelo_malara » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:19 pm

Refueling at sea was another advantage.

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At Falklands

Postby Laurenz » Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:07 pm

Spee's fleet was driven by coal. So the highest speed was 22 knots in the case of the german light cruisers and 23 knots in the case of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Invincible and Inflexible were oil fueled and about 5 knots more quick.
Sturdee's fleet arrived at Port Stanley one day (!) before the German attack.
Spee wasted 3 days between the Falklands and Magelahes street for coaling his supporters.
(Captain Maerker of Gneisenau and 2 other commanders were against raiding Port Stanley to stay unseen in the southern atlantic.
Spee, shortly before Scharnhorst's sinking signalled to Maerker:
You had been right.)
The advantage of coal was simple. Most ships at this time were coal fueled.
Using the german cruiser tactic, it was simple to refuel from the prises, so a coal fueled cruiser was very independant.
Combat in the premier league was not possible without oil fueled ships.

I read my lexica about Derflinger, its written in german, so difficult to translate, i will use german description.
Highest Speed 26.5 knots.
mashinery: Turbine with Kesselfeuerung partly with Ölspeisung.
Derfflinger received a tecnical trial, testing some -aktive Schlingerdämpfung-.
(Derfflinger received 17 hits at Jutland (made 3000 tons of water), lost 157 dead sailors, the highest rate of the german ships, which were not sunk. At Jutland she shot the most shells of all german warships at Jutland, 385 30,5 cm and 235 15 cm shells, caused that 4 cannons were out of order after the battle and had been replaced in the shipsyard. Captain Hartog of Derfflinger led for half an hour the battlecruiser squadron when Hipper changed the flagship.)
Kind regards,
L.

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Postby marcelo_malara » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:23 pm

Invincible and Inflexible were oil fueled and about 5 knots more quick.


You are wrong, they were carbon fueled.

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Postby Tiornu » Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:30 am

Mixed firing was not uncommon at the time. This meant that the oil was sprayed onto the burning coal. This gives some benefits--less ash, more thermal energy--but obviously it's more efficient to use oil alone.
The disadvantages of oil include the lack of ballistic protection provided by the coal and the hazard of spilled oil. You've all seen photos of burning tankers, but no burning colliers. And swimming survivors don't get their faces fouled with floating coal.

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RF
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Postby RF » Tue May 01, 2007 10:53 am

Tiornu wrote: but no burning colliers.


Were there not any serious cases of spontaneous combustion on loaded colliers? I gather that the Wolf had two major fires in its bunkers when it was loaded with nearly 5,000 tons of coal....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 01, 2007 4:49 pm

RF:
Were there not any serious cases of spontaneous combustion on loaded colliers? I gather that the Wolf had two major fires in its bunkers when it was loaded with nearly 5,000 tons of coal....


USS Maine, I believe.
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Postby tommy303 » Tue May 01, 2007 5:43 pm

Titanic too had a coal fire in her reserve bunker. For the most part it was a common enough occurance.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
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And saved the sum of things for pay.

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RF
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Postby RF » Thu May 03, 2007 10:11 am

Were there any cases of large coal-bunker fires on these early steam powered ironclads threatening the magazines?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Postby Tiornu » Thu May 03, 2007 11:08 am

Were there not any serious cases of spontaneous combustion on loaded colliers?
Please note that I was speaking in the context of battle damage.

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Re: Coal fuel and oil fuel

Postby MichaelC » Mon May 28, 2007 10:33 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:1. When the navies changed the adopted fuel from coal to oil?

Britain started trials with oil in 1898.

In 1908 it was decided that all future destroyers were to be oil fired exclusively.

2. Which was the first capital ship that used the new fuel?

In 1912 the Queen E and USS Nevada were started, the first exclusively oil burning capital ships.

3. Apart from the logical advantages regarding consumption which are the overall advantages of the oil over coal: weight, power output?

Here's a comparison between two RN destroyers built at the same time the coal fired Beagle and the oil fired Defender:

Boiler room weight: Coal 187 tons, Oil 142 tons
Boiler room length: Coal 92', Oil 61'
Fuel required for same endurance: Coal 225 tons, Oil 175 tons
Engine room complement: Coal 58 men, Oil 24 men

The cost of the oil powered ship was also about 20% less than it's coal fired contemporary.

The disadvantages of oil include the lack of ballistic protection provided by the coal

Of the 3 main disadvantages advanced against oil it was eventually realized that 2 could be discounted:

1) In the absence of oxygen oil was not significantly more of a fire hazard that coal.

2) Any ballistic protection coal might have provided was mute when the weight saved could be reinvested in actual protective elements that would be much more effective: armor plate, more bulkheads, smaller machinery spaces, etc

The #1 liability of oil then, as it is now, is the quantity and the location of it's sources and their vulnerability to foreign influence.

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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 28, 2007 11:01 pm

Hi MichaelC, thanks a lot for the info, very valuable.

Kind regards.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill


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