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Georges Christian Peter Imbert (26 March – 6 February 1950) was a French chemical engineer and inventor. He became famous for the invention of the wood gas generator.1884
On March 26, 1884 Imbert was born in Niederstinzel, France, a small town about ten kilometers from Sarre-Union. He was the oldest of four children.
After primary school in Diemeringen, he attended Sarreguemines High School. Because of his academic success, his father enrolled him at the School of Chemistry Mulhouse, which at that time was one of the most famous in Europe. Three years later Imbert acquired a degree in chemical engineering; his interest in the subject led him to pursue his own research further.
At the age of 20 he filed his first patent. Over the next ten years he developed various industrial processes and filed several additional patents for them.
In 1908 he opened a soap factory in Diemeringen where he applied many of the industrial processes he had patented. He also worked as a research scientist in Manchester.
From 1915 to 1918 Imbert was enlisted in the German army where he worked as a chemist in the factory "Königswarter and Ebell" in Linden and in the factory "Pintsch" in Berlin.
After he was demobilized in 1918, Imbert produced soap at the mill in Diemeringen.
At the same time Georges Imbert embarked on experiments to transform coal into liquid fuel. He even managed to make synthetic gasoline, which unfortunately was too expensive. By then he had abandoned the liquid fuel solution and became interested in gas generators. In the early 1920s he created a generator that utilized charcoal.
In 1921 Imbert built a charcoal gasifier and two years later he succeeded in gasification for a vehicle.
In 1923, the Army, informed by De Dietrich of the invention, asked Imbert to build a wood gasifier for the French Government. At Sarre-Union, rue de Bitche, the hat manufacturer, where Imbert set up his gas-fired plant (1925) at Reichshoffen, De Dietrich, which has the industrial capacity in metallurgy and the automobile, set up a workshop for him. In 1925, he patented various processes on gas generators. De Dietrich, for their part also filed a patent on gasogens, which pushed Imbert to end this partnership in 1926.
After buying the "Chalet", a beautiful home in Sarre-Union, he created the Compagnie Générale des Gazogens Imbert in 1930.
Despite the enthusiasm of André Maginot, Minister of War, the gasifier struggled to break through in France. In 1931, Georges Imbert was forced to sell some of his licenses to his representative in Germany.
In 1934, his brother Jean-Paul, tried to sell gasogen to the United States.
The success in Germany allowed Imbert to continue developing his technique in Sarre-Union. He was developing a gasifier that could use green wood without clogging the engine.
During the evacuation of Sarre-Union in May 1940, he moved with his family to Epinal in the Vosges. On his return in September of the same year, he returned to work by becoming an employee of his former company bought by "Imbert Köln".
The recognition of Georges Imbert's work in 1944 by all the European manufacturers marks the celebration of the life of the chemical engineer. The German press called him the "pope" of the gasifier. Germany used the wood gasifier in all military operations on tanks, armored cars and ammunition trucks.
Having lost a son on the Russian front and feeling responsible, Imbert became an alcoholic.
In December 1944, Sarre-Union was released by the Americans. Georges Imbert was not imprisoned because he was employed by the Germans. On the other hand, in 1945 his property was sequestrated and sold as war damage. Imbert lost interest in everything and died a few years later, in 1950, at the age of 65.
Sir James Dewar was a Scottish chemist and physicist. He is best known for his invention of the vacuum flask, which he used in conjunction with research into the liquefaction of gases. He also studied atomic and molecular spectroscopy, working in these fields for more than 25 years.
Norbert Rillieux was an American inventor who was widely considered one of the earliest chemical engineers and noted for his pioneering invention of the multiple-effect evaporator. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux, a French-speaking Creole, was a cousin of the painter Edgar Degas.
Wood gas is a syngas fuel which can be used as a fuel for furnaces, stoves and vehicles in place of gasoline, diesel or other fuels. During the production process biomass or other carbon-containing materials are gasified within the oxygen-limited environment of a wood gas generator to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide. These gases can then be burnt as a fuel within an oxygen rich environment to produce carbon dioxide, water and heat. In some gasifiers this process is preceded by pyrolysis, where the biomass or coal is first converted to char, releasing methane and tar rich in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Syngas, or synthesis gas, is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and very often some carbon dioxide. The name comes from its use as intermediates in creating synthetic natural gas (SNG) and for producing ammonia or methanol. Syngas is usually a product of coal gasification and the main application is electricity generation. Syngas is combustible and can be used as a fuel of internal combustion engines. Historically, syngas has been used as a replacement for gasoline, when gasoline supply has been limited; for example, wood gas was used to power cars in Europe during WWII. Syngas, however, has less than half the energy density of natural gas.
Gasification is a process that converts organic- or fossil fuel-based carbonaceous materials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures (>700 °C), without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas or producer gas and is itself a fuel. The power derived from gasification and combustion of the resultant gas is considered to be a source of renewable energy if the gasified compounds were obtained from biomass.
The Second Industrial Revolution, also known as the Technological Revolution, was a phase of rapid standardization and industrialization from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. The First Industrial Revolution, which ended in the middle of 19th century, was punctuated by a slowdown in important inventions before the Second Industrial Revolution in 1870. Though a number of its events can be traced to earlier innovations in manufacturing, such as the establishment of a machine tool industry, the development of methods for manufacturing interchangeable parts and the invention of the Bessemer Process to produce steel, the Second Industrial Revolution is generally dated between 1870 and 1914.
Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius was a German chemist known for the Bergius process for producing synthetic fuel from coal, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recognition of contributions to the invention and development of chemical high-pressure methods. Having worked with IG Farben during World War II, his citizenship came into question following the war, causing him to ultimately flee to Argentina, where he acted as adviser to the Ministry of Industry.
Coal gas is a flammable gaseous fuel made from coal and supplied to the user via a piped distribution system. It is produced when coal is heated strongly in the absence of air. Town gas is a more general term referring to manufactured gaseous fuels produced for sale to consumers and municipalities.
Dry distillation is the heating of solid materials to produce gaseous products. The method may involve pyrolysis or thermolysis, or it may not. If there are no chemical changes, just phase changes, it resembles classical distillation, although it will generally need higher temperatures. Dry distillation in which chemical changes occur is a type of destructive distillation or cracking.
Carl Paul Gottfried Linde was a German scientist, engineer, and businessman. He discovered a refrigeration cycle and invented the first industrial-scale air separation and gas liquefaction processes. These breakthroughs laid the backbone for the 1913 Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. Linde was a member of scientific and engineering associations, including being on the board of trustees of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Linde was also the founder of what is now known as Linde plc, the world's largest industrial gases company, and ushered the creation of the supply chain of industrial gases as a profitable line of businesses. He was knighted in 1897 as Ritter von Linde. Carl von Linde invented the first reliable and efficient compressed-ammonia refrigerator in 1876.
Coal gasification is the process of producing syngas–a mixture consisting primarily of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), natural gas (CH4), and water vapour (H2O)–from coal and water, air and/or oxygen.
Air Liquide S.A., is a French multinational company which supplies industrial gases and services to various industries including medical, chemical and electronic manufacturers. Founded in 1902, it is the world's largest supplier of industrial gases by revenues and has operations in over 80 countries. It has headquarters at the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. Air Liquide owned the patent for Aqua-Lung until it expired.
A wood gas generator is a gasification unit which converts timber or charcoal into wood gas, a syngas consisting of atmospheric nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, traces of methane, and other gases, which - after cooling and filtering - can then be used to power an internal combustion engine or for other purposes. Historically wood gas generators were often mounted on vehicles, but present studies and developments concentrate mostly on stationary plants.
Georges Claude was a French engineer and inventor. He is noted for his early work on the industrial liquefaction of air, for the invention and commercialization of neon lighting, and for a large experiment on generating energy by pumping cold seawater up from the depths. He has been considered by some to be "the Edison of France". Claude was an active collaborator with the German occupiers of France during the Second World War, for which he was imprisoned in 1945 and stripped of his honors.
Industrial gases are the gaseous materials that are manufactured for use in industry. The principal gases provided are nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, hydrogen, helium and acetylene, although many other gases and mixtures are also available in gas cylinders. The industry producing these gases is also known as industrial gas, which is seen as also encompassing the supply of equipment and technology to produce and use the gases. Their production is a part of the wider chemical Industry.
In industrial chemistry, black liquor is the by-product from the kraft process when digesting pulpwood into paper pulp removing lignin, hemicelluloses and other extractives from the wood to free the cellulose fibers.
Carbochemistry is the branch of chemistry that studies the transformation of coals into useful products and raw materials. The processes that are used in carbochemistry include degasification processes such as carbonization and coking, gasification processes, and liquefaction processes.
James Bert Garner was an American chemical engineer and professor at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research from 1914 until his retirement in 1957. He is credited with the invention of a World War I gas mask design in 1915.
Adrien-Jean-Pierre Thilorier was a French inventor who was the first person to produce solid carbon dioxide.