What Is Propane Made Of?
Propane Comes from Both Oil and Natural Gas
After you get a propane delivery from your local propane supplier or turn on your gas appliance, do you ever stop to wonder where that propane comes from in the first place?
Propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, and it’s a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, about 90% of the American propane supply is generated in the United States. That abundant, right-at-home supply makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your North Carolina home or business, and all of its propane-powered appliances and equipment, throughout the year.
Some propane is created during the process of crude oil refining. During the stabilization phase of the refining process, heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.
Crude oil refining, however, actually plays a small role in the production of propane. The majority of propane is derived today from natural gas production. When we take natural gas out of the earth, it is a mix of different gases. One of these gases is propane.
To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.
Propane vs. Natural Gas
If there are no gas pipelines installed near your home, you can’t use natural gas. Natural gas can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. But if something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas.
Propane gas is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside tanks and your propane supplier delivers it right to your home’s propane tank.
The compression of propane can be compared to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to about two or three times the normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of propane gas to your home.
New to the Mix: Renewable Propane
While renewable propane is not widely available yet, homes and businesses all over the U.S. will eventually be able to easily use it. Since renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, there will be no need to replace or alter existing propane appliances and equipment.
What is renewable propane gas made of? Just as conventional propane is a coproduct of crude oil and natural gas extraction, most renewable propane can be considered a coproduct of biofuel creation. Many of the same feedstocks that go into creating biofuel — animal oils, vegetable oils, biomass — are used to create renewable propane.
This method of producing propane is as safe, cost-effective, and dependable as that for propane generated from natural gas. And when compared to electricity, renewable propane has a considerably smaller carbon footprint.
Read more about renewable propane gas.