Published: Jan 2010
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Crude oil has been used directly as a fuel for power generation in several applications for more than 100 years. Among the earliest documented uses was as fuel for the Cleveland City Cable Railway power plant in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1891 . In 1892, it was reported “there are some such progressive brick manufacturers in Chicago, who use neither coal nor wood in the drying or burning of their clay products. Crude oil is the fuel which they employ….” . In 1893, “a very extensive trial of crude petroleum fuel was made in Chicago … in connection with the World's Fair” . The article went on to caution “the main things to bear in mind in burning crude oil are, (1) the liability to fires and explosions from the ignition of vapor given off by the oil….” Crude oil was used to power a railroad locomotive in a trial run in Corsicana, Texas, in 1895.