Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also called LPG, GPL, LP Gas, liquid petroleum gas or simply propane or butane, is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel for cooking, heating, commercial appliances and vehicles. When specifically used as a vehicle fuel it is often referred to as auto-gas.
LPG is prepared by refining petroleum or “wet” natural gas, and is almost entirely derived from fossil fuel sources, being manufactured during the refining of petroleum (crude oil), or extracted from petroleum or natural gas streams as they emerge from the ground. It was first produced in 1910 by Dr. Walter Snelling, and the first commercial products appeared in 1912. It currently provides about 3% of all energy consumed, and burns relatively cleanly with no soot and very few sulfur emissions.
As its boiling point is below room temperature, LPG will evaporate quickly at normal temperatures and pressures and is usually supplied in pressurized steel vessels, normally called LPG cylinders. They are typically filled to between 80% and 85% of their capacity to allow for thermal expansion of the contained liquid. The ratio between the volumes of the vaporized gas and the liquefied gas varies depending on composition, pressure, and temperature, but is typically around 250:1.
Large amounts of LPG can be stored in bulk cylinders and can be buried underground.
Where does LPG come from?
LPG has two origins: 60% is recovered during the extraction of natural gas and oil from the earth, and the remaining 40% is produced during the refining of crude oil. LPG is thus a naturally occurring by-product. In the past, LPG was destroyed through venting or flaring (i.e. the burning off of unwanted gas), wasting the full potential of this exceptional energy source. Although tied to the production of natural gas and crude oil, LPG has its own distinct advantages and can perform nearly every fuel function of the primary fuels from which it is derived.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas is energy in a bottle. It is versatile, fast, clean, powerful, portable and safe. It is used in a wide range of applications which include cooking, heating, refrigeration and lighting.
The name “liquefied gas” finds its origin in the possibility to obtain gaseous propane and butane at a normal temperature and atmospheric pressure. Only moderate pressure or refrigeration is required to convert them into a liquid state. LPG occupies 274 times less volume as a liquid than as a gas. As a consequence, LPG is easy to transport and store, making it the most multi-purpose fuel.
In the context of the considerable energy and environmental challenges with which Southern Africa’s is currently confronted, the importance of these qualities is readily apparent.
Learn more about this efficient energy and how to use your LP Gas appliances safely.
LPG can be up to five times more efficient than traditional fuels, resulting in less energy wastage and better use of our planet’s resources
LPG Facts & Figures