What is propane?

Propane is a gas that is made from natural gas or crude oil refinement. Also called liquified petroleum gas (LPG), it is typically used in everyday settings as fuel for vehicles, machinery, home appliances, heaters, generators and so on.

The three-carbon alkane (C3H8) is typically compressed and stored as a liquid. At normal temperature and pressure, it is a gas but compressed to liquid form for transportability.

How is propane derived?

Propane or LPG is mainly derived from the processing of natural gas. It was first discovered in 1857 by Marcellin Berthelot, a French chemist. However, it was not until the early 1990s that it was introduced to the market. It was in 1912 that a patent was issued for producing LP gas through compression.

In the past, propane was also being extracted from the refinement of crude oil. However, since the increase of shale gas extraction that industry has declined. By 2011, most of the propane supplied in the United States was derived from natural gas from the U.S and Canada.
This growth is largely attributed to the shale gas industry. The Marcellus shale, which is found in abundance in northeastern America, can provide over 2 million barrels of propane annually. As a result of this large supply, by 2011, the U.S propane industry could not only meet the needs of Americans at home but also export overseas. Despite sharp declines in oil prices, domestic propane production is expected to continue to grow rapidly. This means more affordability compared to the prices on other oils.

How is propane used?

Propane is non-toxic, colorless, and almost completely odorless. Since it is naturally odorless, a mild odor is added during processing to allow detection. Its fuel is widely used in the home to facilitate water heating as well as space heating. You will also realize that if you use a gas cylinder for your stove, it’s more than likely LPG.

Apart from domestic use, this gas is largely used in the production industry to fuel large machines including forklifts, farm irrigation engines and so on. It is also used in vehicles, especially in public utility vehicles, public buses, and police vehicles, cabs and so on. Used in this state, it is called Autogas. In comparison to gasoline and diesel, propane provides a clean and even burn. It eliminates the amount of greenhouse carbon dioxide effect and does not emit air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide or carbon dioxide like other fuels. As a substitute to these popularly used fuel sources, propane proves to be more affordable and more environmentally friendly. And, as technology develops to incorporate more renewable energy sources, it can help to sustain the growing demand. This makes propane a viable fuel choice for many. In 1990, propane was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as clean fuel and listed in the Clean Air Act.

Storing Propane

Propane is usually compressed and stored in cylinders. It is best to store these cylinders in a cool place outdoors rather than in an enclosed space, not even your work or storage space. So, never store them in your tool shed, garage, or worse your basement.

During the summer, when the temperatures can get really high, ensure that your propane cylinder is not directly exposed to the sun. Your propane cylinder can only withstand heat below 120 degrees Fahrenheit or 48 degrees Celsius.
They are also highly flammable, as with many other gases, so they should be kept away from open flames. This means you should not light your cigars or use any kind of spark-producing tool near the cylinder. During winter and cooler seasons, your propane gas cylinder can survive up to -50 degrees Fahrenheit or -45 degrees Celsius. Anything colder than that can ruin your cylinder. So, if you want to be able to spark up your barbecue grills during grilling season (which we all know is right after winter) without having to buy a new tank of gas, you need to store your propane cylinder properly during winter. Propane is becoming an essential fuel for everyday life both in the domestic and production scene. Eureka Oxygen is here for you to provide cylinders, tanks and refills as needed.