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What is LPG or LP Gas?

LPG or LP Gas is the abbreviation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas. This group of products includes saturated Hydrocarbons – Propane (C3H8) and Butane (C4H10), which can be stored/transported separately or as a mixture. They exist as gases at normal room temperature and atmospheric pressure.

Why is it called Liquefied Petroleum Gas?

This is because these gases liquefy under moderate pressure. They liquefy at moderate pressures, readily vaporizing upon release of pressure. It is this property that permits transportation of and storage of LP Gas in concentrated liquid form.

Where does LPG come from?

LPG comes from two sources. It can be obtained from the refining of crude oil. When produced this way it is generally in pressurized form. LPG is also extracted from natural gas or crude oil streams coming from underground reservoirs. 60% of LPG in the world today is produced this way whereas 40% of LPG is extracted from refining of crude oil.

What is LPG used for?

LPG is used as a fuel for domestic (cooking), industrial, horticultural, agricultural, heating and drying processes. LPG can be used as an automotive fuel or as a propellant for aerosols, in addition to other specialist applications. LPG can also be used to provide lighting through the use of pressure lanterns.

What are the advantages of LPG?

The advantages of LPG are as follows:

  • Because of its relatively fewer components, it is easy to achieve the correct fuel to air mix ratio that allows the complete combustion of the product. This gives LPG its clean burning characteristics:
  • Both Propane and Butane are easily liquefied and stored in pressure containers. These properties make the fuel highly portable, and hence, can be easily transported in cylinders or tanks to end-users;
  • LPG is a good substitute for petrol in spark ignition engines. Its clean burning properties, in a properly tuned engine, give reduced exhaust emissions, extended lubricant and spark plug life;
  • As a replacement for aerosol propellants and refrigerants, LPG provides alternatives to fluorocarbons, which are known to cause deterioration of the earth’s ozone layer;

The clean burning properties and portability of LPG provide a substitute for traditional fuels such as wood, coal, and other organic matter. This provides a solution to de-forestation and the reduction of particulate matter in the atmosphere (haze), caused by burning the traditional fuels.

LP Gas is a Partner with Other Energies

Some energies are friendlier to the environment than others. Non-fossil fuels such as solar and wind are particularly friendly but have reliability limitations. Solar works only when the sun shines, wind machines only when there is wind. Both depend on battery or thermal storage for non-functioning periods. Often this energy storage is unreliable or costly. The flexibility of LP Gas makes it possible to partner with these other energy sources. When solar or wind are not producing energy, LP Gas can supplement the basic energy supply. Automatic switching equipment makes it possible to have LP Gas as a silent and reliable partner adding heat or power whenever needed. Both the environment and the customer benefit from this unique partnership.

LP Gas is a Partner in New Technologies

Technology for space travel now comes to earth in the form of fuel cells. Fuel cells create power and heat from fuels through a electrochemical process rather than burning. The cell converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy. The by-products of this process are water vapour and heat. Nitrogen oxides and sulphur emissions are negligible and greenhouse gases are less than half that of internal combustion engines. Because LP Gas (mainly C3H8) contains hydrogen, it is an excellent candidate for powering fuel cells.


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