Is Propane A Liquid or A Gas?

Written on: June 19, 2023

Trust Lakes Gas for your propane needs!

propane minnesota If you’ve recently started using propane gas in your Upper Midwest home or have been using it for a while now, there may still be some things about propane that you are not aware of.

Lakes Gas is here to provide you with information about propane, including its properties, uses, and safety practices to ease your concerns about using propane at home. Our company offers various propane services including reliable propane delivery, leasing and installation of propane tanks, wireless monitoring of propane tanks, exchanging propane cylinders, and providing commercial propane services.

What is propane?

There may be some confusion on what propane actually is because it’s called liquid petroleum gas. Which can make people wonder which it is, a liquid or a gas.

Propane can be both those things, but not at the same time. Propane is a gas that is typically compressed and stored in liquid form. Once it leaves your propane tank and travels via the gas lines into your home, it is a gas again.

Propane (C₃H₈) was discovered by Edmund Ronalds, an English industrial chemist and academic in 1864 during his study of volatile chemicals in crude oil.

In 1910, Walter O. Snelling, an American chemist, discovered that some gases present in gasoline could be transformed into liquids while studying its evaporation. He established that propane was the most abundant among these newly found gases.

Snelling created and patented a method for bottling liquid gas that paved the way for the propane industry. Nowadays, people still use the terms “bottle gas” or “bottled gas” to mean propane.

Three years after Snelling created the patent, Frank Philips purchased it from Phillips Petroleum for $50,000, which is equivalent to $1.4 million in today’s currency. Quite the wise investment!

How is propane made?

The main source of propane fuel in the US is natural gas and crude oil processing, with 90% of the country’s propane supply being domestically produced. Here are the two primary sources of propane gas.

Natural gas production – Approximately 70% of domestically used propane is extracted through natural gas, as propane can be separated from various gases present in natural gas.

During natural gas processing, propane and butane are extracted to prevent condensation inside pipelines. Among the two, propane is more advantageous as it can be stored and transported as a denser liquid instead of a gas.

Crude oil refining – During the stabilization process of crude oil refining, propane is produced as a by-product when separating heavier hydrocarbons. Compared to gasoline and diesel, propane is lighter, making it easier to extract from other petroleum derivatives. Apart from propane, other products like kerosene and heating oil can also be derived from this process. Propane’s efficient extraction methods enable it to play a significant role in energy production on a large and small scale worldwide.

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