How Is Propane Used in Different Industries?

Propane is a clean-burning fuel source. Over the years, this versatile fuel has found its way into diverse applications, ranging from robust propane-powered vehicles to backyard family barbecues. Also referred to as liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, or propane autogas, this fuel presents numerous benefits and has captured the interest of many users. 

While specific uses of propane are more widely acknowledged than others, this adaptable energy source holds tremendous potential for even broader adoption in the future. Let’s learn about the different uses of propane.

How Propane Is Used

Propane is securely stowed within a pressurized tank, appearing as an odourless and colourless liquid. When there’s a release in pressure, it causes the liquid propane to transform into a vaporous state instantly. It is ready for combustion. This remarkable transformation allows us to use propane in our daily lives.

Propane has customers in every sector, from residential homes to small businesses, multi-national corporations, industrial facilities, and agricultural clients. Propane is more commonly used in rural areas where reticulated natural gas is unavailable. 

However, propane makes up only 2 percent of North America’s energy use. This percentage is rising. It is being looked at as a significant potential fuel source for use in future cities.

Propane Used in Transportation

Propane may be the perfect alternative transportation fuel with high availability, clean-burning properties, and strong affordability. Today, it is the third most common transportation fuel on Earth, with only gasoline and diesel ranking above.

Propane is an excellent fuel for any vehicle with a spark-igniting internal combustion engine. It is eco-friendly, not threatening the soil, surface water, or groundwater if an accidental spill occurs. It is also a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining.

Propane, when used as a vehicular fuel, is called auto propane or autogas. It can be used in internal combustion engines in cars, buses, forklifts, irrigation pumps, and fleet vehicles. It is a highly reliable fuel capable of powering these engines and others.

Propane Used in Home Appliances

Propane offers many applications for residential properties. Propane suits various household needs, from home and water heating solutions to cooking and refrigeration. Its functionality extends to outdoor patio heating, power backup generators, and numerous in-home applications.

Propane-powered appliances include BBQs, space heaters, furnaces, water heaters, cooktops, ovens, and even pool dryers. This fuel is an essential resource for many homes. 

Propane Used in Industrial Applications

Propane serves as a versatile source of power on farms, as it keeps livestock cozy. It also facilitates crop drying and flame-weeding for farmers. During the cold winter months, propane efficiently heats greenhouses.

In addition to its significance in agriculture, propane is prominent in various industrial environments. Serving as a refrigerant and an aerosol propellant, it’s essential for producing petrochemical feedstock. Likewise, propane is a raw material used in manufacturing plastics and an assortment of chemical compounds. Auto body repair shops also depend on propane to expedite the curing process for freshly painted vehicles.

Other Uses of Propane

Propane has many uses, some more significant than others. Among those we haven’t yet mentioned, propane is used in blowtorches for soldering. It is the primary fuel source for hot air balloons

Propane is often used in theme parks and movie productions to simulate and cause inexpensive high-energy explosions or special effects. Liquified propane extracts animal fats and vegetable oils. It is also used as a propellant in shaving cream and air fresheners.

Propane Tanks in Different Sizes

As such a dynamic fuel, propane is kept in steel vessels of various sizes. The average BBQ propane tank is either 9kg or 4kg. That said, high-volume propane users require significantly larger propane tanks. 

The average tanks a home or business will purchase are usually 45kg, but they can grow to 90kg, 210kg, or even larger. How much propane you need depends entirely on its use.

Liquid Propane vs Vapour Propane 

Predominantly, propane is used in its vapour form. Water heaters, room heaters, and stovetops use propane vapour for efficient operation. Despite this, propane is transported as a liquid to ensure compactness and convenience.

Using liquid propane directly could lead to excessive release, creating fires or other safety hazards. This is precisely why propane canisters are always stored upright, allowing vapour to be used as intended and maintaining safety measures.