What is Propane: A Liquid or a Gas?

Written on: August 7, 2023

Learn more about this versatile, efficient energy source!

propane  Sheboygan county, wi If you use propane gas in your home, regardless of whether you’re new to it or have used it for a long time, there could be some information about propane that you are not aware of.

Boehlke Bottled Gas offers detailed information about propane, including its properties, uses, and safety practices, to make you feel good about using propane at 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 term “liquid petroleum gas” can lead to confusion as it’s not immediately clear whether it’s referring to a liquid or a gas. As a result, there may be uncertainty about the nature of propane.

Propane gas can be either gas or liquid, but not both at the same time. Initially, it is compressed and kept in liquid form. However, it turns back into gas when it is transported through gas lines to your home from the propane tank.

In 1864, Edmund Ronalds, who was an English industrial chemist and academic, found propane (C₃H₈) during his research on the unstable substances present in crude oil.

In 1910, American chemist Walter O. Snelling discovered that certain gases present in gasoline could be converted into liquids while studying its evaporation. He found that the most prevalent gas among them was propane.

Snelling developed a process for bottling liquid propane gas, which was instrumental in establishing the propane industry. Today, propane is commonly referred to as “bottled gas” or “bottle gas.” After three years, Snelling sold the patent to Frank Philips, founder of Phillips Petroleum for $50,000, which would be worth $1.4 million in today’s currency. This proved to be a highly profitable decision for Frank Philips.

How propane is made

About 90% of the propane fuel supply in the United States is produced domestically, with natural gas and crude oil processing being the main sources.

Natural is the primary source of around 70% of the propane used within the country. During the processing of natural gas, propane and butane are separated from other gases. Propane is more advantageous than butane as it can be stored and transported in a more compact liquid state.

During the stabilization process of crude oil refining, propane is produced as a by-product when heavier hydrocarbons are separated. Unlike gasoline and diesel, propane is lighter and easier to extract from other petroleum derivatives. Besides propane, this process also produces kerosene and heating oil. Because of its efficient extraction process, propane has become an essential energy source on both small and large scales throughout the world.

How propane is used

Using propane as an energy source has several benefits. Its liquid form makes it easy to transport and store, which means that homes and businesses can take advantage of gas-fired appliances without relying on natural gas utilities or infrastructure, regardless of location.

Propane is a popular choice for residential settings because of its versatility. It can be used for energy efficient home and water heating, gas cooking, fast and efficient laundry drying, superior pool and spa heating, quick and convenient grilling, and more.

Propane is utilized by businesses for various purposes such as powering forklifts and in agricultural settings.

Ready for the most reliable propane delivery in Southeast Wisconsin? Become a Boehlke Bottled Gas customer today!