LPG vs. Propane
Is liquified petroleum gas the same as propane? Liquified petroleum gas — or LP gas — is a flammable hydrocarbon gas made from propane, butane and small amounts of other hydrocarbons like propylene and butylene. Propane and butane are flammable hydrocarbons with different chemical formulas. LP gas comes from refined crude oil and it’s extracted from natural gas streams as it emerges from the ground.
Common Uses of LP Gas
LP gas has many residential and commercial uses. It is used as fuel for:
- Vehicles like cars, recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, forklifts and hot air balloons.
- Gas heating.
- Heating appliances like space heaters and furnaces.
- Appliances like cooktops, ovens and dryers.
- Hot water heating.
- Cooking gas cylinders for barbecue grills.
- Kilns and ovens.
- Steam boilers.
Since rural areas lack reticulated natural gas, LP gas is commonly used in the agriculture industry for:
- Hot water for dairy operations.
- Crops and produce drying.
- Animal closures heating.
- Greenhouses heating.
- Irrigation pumps.
LP gas is also used in the chemical industry as a feedstock for synthesizing olefins like ethylene, propylene, butene and acrylic acid. You can also use it to make products like aerosol propellants and refrigerants.
What Is the Difference Between LP Gas and Propane?
LP gas and propane are essentially the same because propane is a form of LP gas. While all propane is LP gas, not all LP gas is propane. LP gas is a crude oil product made of propane, butane and isobutane. Propane does not include any other gases.
In the U.S., it’s common to call LP gas “propane” since “LP gas” is not common terminology. Since these gases are often the same, calling LP gas “propane” is technically accurate.
Is LP Gas the Same as Natural Gas?
LP gas is not the same as natural gas — the only similarities are that they’re crude oil products and highly combustible. They differ in their:
- Energy content: LP gas has a heat content of 93.2 megajoules per cubic meter (MJ/m3), and natural gas has a heat content of 38.7 MJ/m3.
- Density: LP gas is heavier than air, and natural gas is lighter than air.
- Chemical makeup: While LP gas is either propane or butane, natural gas is always methane.
- Storage: LP gas is stored in cylinders or tanks while natural gas is stored in pipelines.
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