Posted: July 17, 2023

Is Propane a Liquid or a Gas?

Learn more about propane here!

propane Glen, NY Whether you’re a new or experienced user of propane gas in your home, there may still be some things you don’t know about propane.

In today’s article, Sweetwater Propane provides extensive information about propane, including its properties, uses, and safety practices to alleviate any doubts you may have about using propane at your home.

We offer a range of propane services, such as dependable propane delivery, propane tank rentals and installations, wireless propane tank monitoring, propane cylinder exchange, and commercial propane services.

Propane facts and history

The name “liquid petroleum gas” can be confusing as it may not be clear whether it’s a liquid or a gas. This can cause uncertainty about what propane actually is.

Propane can exist as both gas and liquid, but not simultaneously. Initially, propane gas is compressed and stored in liquid form. However, it transforms back to gas when it is conveyed through gas lines into your home from the propane tank.

Edmund Ronalds, an English industrial chemist and academic, discovered propane (C₃H₈) in 1864 while studying volatile chemicals in crude oil.

While studying the evaporation of gasoline in 1910, American chemist Walter O. Snelling discovered that certain gases within it could be converted into liquids. His research revealed that the most abundant of these gases was propane.

Snelling invented a method of bottling liquid propane gas that led to the creation of the propane industry. “Bottle gas” or “bottled gas” is often used today to refer to propane. The patent was sold to Phillips Petroleum by Snelling three years later for $50,000, which is the equivalent of $1.4 million in today’s currency. This proved to be a very smart investment for Frank Philips.

How propane is made

In the United States, the majority of propane fuel is produced domestically with natural gas and crude oil processing being the primary sources. About 90% of the country’s propane supply comes from these sources.

Natural gas production – About 70% of the propane used domestically comes from natural gas. Propane can be separated from other gases in natural gas. When natural gas is processed, propane and butane are extracted to prevent pipelines from getting condensation. Propane is preferred over butane because it can be transported and stored as a denser liquid instead of a gas.

Crude oil refining – Propane is a by-product produced during the stabilization process of crude oil refining, while separating heavier hydrocarbons. Unlike gasoline and diesel which are heavier, propane is lighter and therefore easier to extract from other petroleum derivatives. The process also contributes to the production of kerosene and heating oil, apart from propane. The efficient extraction of propane has made it an important energy source on both small and large scales, across the globe.

How propane is used

Propane offers many advantages as an energy source. Its ease of transport and storage in liquid forms allows homes and businesses to have the benefits of gas-fired appliances no matter where they are located as no natural gas utility or its infrastructure are needed.

Propane’s versatility makes it popular in residential settings. It provides energy efficient home and water heater, gas cooking, fast and efficient laundry drying, superior pool and spa heating, quick and convenient grilling, and more.

Businesses use propane in a wide range of ways including for forklifts and on farms.

You can’t beat Sweetwater Propane for reliable propane delivery and service! Become a customer today.