Propane is 3-Carbon alkane having formula C3H8. It behaves like a gas at standard pressure and temperature but transforms into liquid upon compression.
What is propane gas? (1)
Propane gas is a by-product of petroleum refining and natural gas processing. It is also called “Fossil fuel” and was found several decades ago. Propane is a type of liquefied petroleum gas LP-gas. It has less energy density but in comparison to coal and gasoline, it burns better.
How did propane form?
Several years ago animals and plants died and sank to the oceanic bed. With time, layers of silt and sand buried the dead bodies. Over the years, this layer became thick up to thousands of feet. The layers were given high pressure and heat that changed the energy-rich remains into natural gas and petroleum deposits. Ultimately rock layers trapped pockets of these fossils fuels.
Properties of propane gas
The chemical formula of the propane gas is C3H8. Its molar mass is 44.097 g.mol-1. It is usually colorless and odorless gas with a density of 2.0098 kg/m3. It’s melting and boiling point is 85.5 K and 230-231K respectively. At 0° temperature, its solubility in water is 47 mg.L-1.
Uses of propane gas (2)
- Portable stoves
For several years, it has been a choice for portable stoves and barbecues.The low boiling point of propane helps in its quick vaporization as it is released from a pressurized container. Eventually, it eliminates the need for any vaporizing or carburetor.It powers an ice resurfacing machine, outboard boat motors, taxis, forklifts, and buses. It is also used for cooking in campers and recreational vehicles.
The blend of dry, pure isopropane and isobutane is used as refrigerant in compressor-based refrigeration. In comparison to fluorocarbons, propane gas has low ozone depletion potential and negligible global warming potential. It also acts as a functional alternate for R-134a, R-22, R-12, and other hydrofluorocarbon and chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants in traditional air conditioners and stationary refrigerators. In air conditioners of cars, such substitution is highly discouraged or prohibited. It poses the risk of explosion or fire.
- Industrial and domestic fuel
It is used as a fuel for cooking at home and acts as a backup for electric generation in areas where natural gas lines are not available. In Northern Australia and North America, propane is used inheat-producing appliances, grain dryers, and to heat livestock facilities.
Several industries find propane fest fit for their specific uses. Metalworkers fuel equipment such as cutting torches and others through propane tanks. Propane heaters provide warmth to road or construction workers. At construction sites drying of fuel pitch, plaster, and concrete is done by propane heaters. In the whole world, America is the top user of propane gas.
- Transportation fuel
School districts, government agencies, and taxicab companies use propane to fuel their vehicles. It leaves no carbon deposits, leads, or varnish that cause the wearing of spark plugs, valves, rings, and pistons. The engine remains free of sludge and carbon.
Regulations for Storage of propane gas
- Propane is always stored in liquefied form in pressure containers. These containers can be small as well as large.
- Gas storage depots consist of massive buried tanks or storage spheres. The gas storage must be outdoors in an airy area.
- Tanks should be placed upright. Valves should be closed when the container is not in use.
- It must be considered that propane bottles are at less risk forfalls and associated damage.
- Indoor storage of propane gas must be avoided.
- Gas storage areas must not be in rushing areas to avoid any mishap.
- The storage site must be firm and flat like a concrete slab. It should be in an area with excellent drainage to avoid the presence of propane in standing water.
- It must be considered that the area of gas storage is not having any ignition source such as electric componentry.
- Propane storage cylinders must not be surrounded by any artificial source of heat.
- Even in the case of an empty cylinder, the lid should be kept closed.
Propane storage containers
It is the smallest container to store fuel. Classic fuel lighter is filled with 4 grams of propane. This quantity varies according to the model and configuration of the lighter.
These disposable cartridges are used in appliances such as camping stoves. Several Countersink release Vent (CRV) equipped cartridges are available now. This safety feature allows the discharge of some gas especially in situations of overpressure. This is how it eliminates the potential of Explosion. Dispose off empty cartridges or takes them to any recycling company.
Small BBQ bottles
Camping and BBQ propane bottles are available in 2main sizes: 4kg and 9kg. However, various smaller sizes are also available. Two types of valves used in these bottles are:
- In Australia, the POL valve is used as a standard BBQ valve.
- Camper valves, which are used for specific appliances. It is fitted to 4kg cylinders
Propane forklift gas bottles-cylinders
Cylinders of Two different sizes are available to store gas for forklifts. These are made from aluminum and steel. There are 18kg steel and 15kg aluminum forklift gas cylinders.
Large propane bottles-cylinders
These are for domestic and small business purposes. 45kg cylinder can be refilled or exchanged via truck carrying propane tanks.For massive use large size containers of 210kg, 190kg and 90kg are available. These cylinders are too large to be replaced so these are always filled via tanks.
Large propane gas storage tanks
These are also called “bullets”, “propane bullets” or “LPG bullets”. These large size cylinders are used for agricultural, industrial, and commercial applications. Horizontal as well as vertical installations are possible, but most are horizontal ones. Their size ranges between 1/2tonne-40tonnes and even larger.
Cost of propane 2021(3)
The price of propane in the current year is:
- January: $2.118 per gallon
- February: $2.304 per gallon
- March: $2.378 per gallon