Propane production, distribution, and markets in the United States
Published: October 19, 2006, 2:42 pm
Updated: October 19, 2006, 2:42 pm
Content Source: Eia
This article has been reviewed by the following Topic Editor: Cutler Cleveland
Propane (C3H8) normally is a gaseous straight-chain hydrocarbon. It is a colorless paraffinic gas that boils at a temperature of -43.67 degrees Fahrenheit. It is extracted from natural gas or oil refinery gas streams. Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas, not a manufactured gas. It is one of several natural gas liquids (NGL). Other NGLs are ethane, butane, pentanes or a mixture of the above. Propane, as a liquid, is stored under moderate pressure in cylinders or tanks for convenience and portability. Propane is transported by pipeline, rail car, or truck to marketers, who in turn, deliver it in bulk or in cylinders to the customers.
People in industrial nations know propane as the fuel in a white container attached to a barbecue grill. But propane has long proven its versatility for heating homes, heating water, cooking, drying clothes, fueling gas fireplaces, and as an alternative fuel for vehicles. However, more propane is used to make petrochemicals that are the building blocks for plastics, alcohol fibers, and cosmetics, to name just a few. Propane naturally occurs as a gas at atmospheric pressure but can be liquefied if subjected to moderately increased pressure. It is stored and transported in its compressed liquid form, but by opening a valve to release propane from a pressurized storage container, it is vaporized into a gas for use. Simply stated, propane is always a liquid until it is used. Although propane is non-toxic and odorless, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected.
Eia (Content Source);Cutler Cleveland (Topic Editor) “Propane production, distribution, and markets in the United States”. In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth October 19, 2006; Last revised Date October 19, 2006; Retrieved August 19, 2012 http://www.eoearth.org/article/Propane_production,_distribution,_and_markets_in_the_United_States