The key difference between water gas and producer gas is that the water gas contains flammable gases whereas the producer gas contains both flammable and non-flammable gases.
Both water gas and producer gas are mixtures of several gases. Water gas contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases. Producer gas contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases along with some non-flammable gases such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
What is Water Gas?
Water gas is a mixture of flammable gases. It mainly contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases. We produce this gas from syngas or synthesis gas. However, due to its flammability and carbon monoxide poisoning effects, we should handle the syngas very carefully when producing water gas from it.
In the production process of water gas, we pass overheated steam hydrocarbons. There, a chemical reaction takes place in which steam and hydrocarbons react with each other producing the syngas. Then we can reduce the carbon dioxide level in syngas in order to produce water gas. Along with this reduction of carbon dioxide, we can enrich the gaseous mixture with hydrogen gas as well. There are two major types of water gas as follows:
- Carburetted water gas
- Semi-water gas
What is Producer Gas?
Producer gas is a mixture of gases containing both flammable and non-flammable gases. The flammable gases in this mixture include carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases. The non-flammable portion includes nitrogen and carbon dioxide mainly. These non-flammable gases are coming from the partial combustion of carbonaceous material such as coal in the presence of air and steam. Moreover, this gas has a less heating value compared to other fuel gases because of the presence of non-flammable gases. however, we can produce this gas easily with simple equipment; thus, it is useful as a fuel in large industrial furnaces.
Some countries name this gas as “wood gas”, “suction gas”, “town gas” or “syngas” according to the intended use. For example, we use wood gas for fire kilns. The chemical reactions involved in the production of this gas include the reaction between air and carbon, between steam and carbon and between steam and carbon monoxide.
What is the Difference Between Water Gas and Producer Gas?
Water gas is a mixture of flammable gases while producer gas is a mixture of gases containing both flammable and non-flammable gases. The flammable gases that we refer here are carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas. The non-flammable gases include nitrogen and carbon dioxide mainly. This is the main difference between water gas and producer gas. Moreover, we can produce water gas from syngas by enriching the syngas with hydrogen while reducing the carbon dioxide level. In addition, we can produce the producer gas via combustion of carbonaceous materials.
The below infographic presents the difference between water gas and producer gas in tabular form.
Summary – Water Gas vs Producer Gas
Both water gas and producer gas are important fuel gases that differ from each other according to the chemical composition and production process. The difference between water gas and producer gas is that water gas contains flammable gases whereas producer gas contains both flammable and non-flammable gases.
1. “Water Gas.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Aug. 2018. Available here
2. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Producer Gas.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 July 1998. Available here
1.”Water gas shift reaction”By Self – Own work, (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia