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Propane: What Is It Made Of?

propane company massachusetts For almost 30 years, households on the Upper Cape and throughout Southeastern Massachusetts have counted on us for heating oil and kerosene. But the Tasha team also provides top-tier propane delivery.

Propane is an energy-efficient, clean-burning, American-made fuel that can power many home systems and appliances. But what is propane made of, and how is it different from other fuels?

Here’s a quick primer on all things propane.

What is propane and where does it come from?

Propane is a co-product of natural gas extraction and crude oil refining. Most propane is petroleum-based, but an increasing amount is produced using organic feedstocks.

Virtually all the propane you use is produced domestically. The United States exports more propane than we use. This means that, although propane’s price is not fully insulated from global energy markets, it tends to be more stable than many other fuels. Let’s look at the various ways that propane is made.

Oil refining

In the stabilization stage of refining crude oil, heavier hydrocarbons settle at the bottom and lighter ones, such as propane, rise to the top. Propane can be removed at this point, then repackaged as a separate fuel.

Natural gas extraction

While some propane comes from oil refining, the vast majority comes from natural gas production. Natural gas wells can also extract fuels such as butane, ethane and pentane. By far, the most abundant of these co-products is propane. These co-products must be separated from any liquid compounds during extraction to prevent condensing inside pipelines that carry natural gas.

Renewable propane

Renewable propane is a newer energy product, and it’s not widely used. But its production process expands with each passing year.

Renewable propane is molecularly identical to conventional propane, but it’s made from organic and recycled products, including:

These feedstocks are abundant and inexpensive. Indeed, most are what you would consider waste products. The renewable propane production process has a low carbon intensity. Renewable propane is carbon neutral at the point of combustion, adding no new carbon to the atmosphere.

How are propane and natural gas different?

It is understandable that many customers confuse natural gas and propane since they are part of the same production process, function similarly in gas-powered systems and have the same scenting agent added to them. Yet, they are two entirely distinct fuels.

To begin, propane is heavier than natural gas. Under pressure and at a relatively high temperature, it can be compressed into a liquid. This is how it is stored in propane tanks and transported in trucks, trains and portable cylinders. Once pressure is relieved, propane returns to a gaseous form for use in heating systems, water heaters, grills and other household products.

Natural gas is much lighter and comes to homes via a utility pipe system. It’s primarily composed of methane, while propane is methane-free. They also burn with different intensities. Propane produces more than double the heat energy per cubic foot of natural gas!

Do you want to receive the most dependable propane delivery in the region? Contact Tasha Fuels & Propane.