The Factory

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The production line of gas

Producing gas from hard coal.

The raw material for the gas productions is coal, which was imported from abroad since there were not enough coal reserves in Greece. The three main stages of the gas production were:

  • 1st stage: Distillation (overheating)
    In order to produce gas, coal had to be heated in extremely high temperatures that exceed 1,000 ˚C. This procedure was performed in special retorts-distillation horns and it lasted about 5 hours leading to the production of coal gas.
  • 2nd stage: Purification
    The coal gas that was produced in the retorts contained various elements that had to be removed, such as tar, ammonia, naphthalene and hydrogen sulfide. These are by-products that can be used in the field of industry, chemistry, road works etc.
  • 3rd stage: Storage
    After its purification, coal gas had to be stored in large metallic tanks, called gasholders. The Athens Gasworks had four gasholders, three of which still remain today. The gasholders functioned through a system of two or three metallic drums which were raised or lowered depending on the amount of coal gas produced and the demand for distribution in the city’s gas network.

Production of water gas

The term water gas means the gas produced by mixing coke with steam. The production of water gas is supplementary to the production of coal gas, thus decreasing production costs. The Athens Gasworks had two water gas production units.

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