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Fuel Hydraulic Equipment with Water? ben lee

Is it Possible to Fuel Hydraulic Equipment with Water? 

Businesses all over the world are now looking at how to move away from fossil fuels such as oil and our utter dependence upon them. A variety of experiments using alternative fuel are now being performed in many different areas of several industries. One of these experiments is to test whether water might be able to take the place of hydraulic oil.

Most hydraulic equipment uses oil to power the cylinders, pumps and valves that are at the core of the operations of industrial equipment such as hydraulic machines. Once the hydraulic oil is under pressure it can power the cylinders by exerting force. But is it possible that water can do the same job?

Although some hydraulic equipment has been used successfully with water, in particular for applications that require a high level of fire resistance, most hydraulics need the water to have an additive used. This then makes it possible for there to be lubrication in the machine, even if 95% of the fluid is water.

There are some exciting results coming from engineering company, Danfoss, who has been designing and manufacturing hydraulic equipment that can operate with just water. Working without any additives, this hydraulic equipment prototype is 100% green. It has made it possible for suitable components to be manufactured to support the hydraulic system.

Advantages of water hydraulics

Because water is not flammable, and it can be used for other purposes such as fire safety, it can work well. However, it operates at a much lower pressure as it’s not as viscous as oil. This means that it can transmit power far more efficiently than oil, and in a far smaller area. So it could actually be more powerful than oil when it comes to hydraulic powered activities.

As water transfers heat better, it will also mean a smaller heat exchanger than is necessary for oil.

However, because water is lower when it comes to viscosity, this could prevent an issue with greater leakage. Rubber seals would need to be used and there wouldn’t be such great lubrication, so finishes to components would need to be smooth to aid movement.

In addition, because water will easily turn to vapour, there will need to be pressurized lines into the pump. If temperatures are low, the machinery might not be able to operate as the water could freeze at a far lower temperature than oil.

Watch this space for latest news as more exploration is done in the area of replacing hydraulic oil with water.

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