Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a portable fuel that can be used for cooking, hot water, heating, powering vehicles and cogeneration. It also has a range of commercial applications across manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and industry.It burns readily in air and is an excellent fuel for heating, cooking and for automotive use.LPG is colourless, odourless and heavier than air. A stenching agent is added to give it a distinctive and unpleasant smell, sometimes described as rotten cabbage, so that even a very small leak can be easily detected.
Characteristics of LPG
LPG is made up of propane and/or butane.its vapour is heavier than air, which has important safety implications.Any leakage will sink to the ground and accumulate in low lying areas and may be difficult to disperse, so LPG should never be stored or used in cellars or basements.Like mains gas, LPG has no smell and so a strong "stenching" agent is added before delivery to help detection of any leaks. LPG is flammable in air and although non-toxic, large quantities could cause suffocation.LPG is a high performance fuel, but will only ignite if mixed with air in a gas:air ratio of between 1:50 and 1:10 (lower than the limit for mains gas). The low limit for flammability means that even small leaks could have serious results.
Production and distribution of LPG
LPG is produced during oil refining or is extracted during the natural gas production process. Instead of destroying or burning off this byproduct, the LPG is captured and used as fuel source on its own.LPG is transported from production sites and refineries to large storage terminals by LPG tankers or carriers, where it is stored in bulk tanks. These large storage terminals are often situated on seaboards or ports to make it easier to receive LPG deliveries.The LPG is then delivered by train or road tanker to cylinder-filling sites and smaller-sized storage terminals where it is bottled in pressurised containers. From there, the containers can be loaded onto trucks to deliver to the end user, or small bulk tankers can be filled for gas top ups at the end user's property.
Propane & Butane
There are two types of LPG - Propane and Butane. They have similar properties but different applications. They are not interchangeable due to the different operating pressures and burner settings required. Valves and fittings are also different to avoid confusion or accidental use of the wrong type of LPG.Propane has a lower boiling point than butane so it will continue to convert from a liquid to a gas even in very cold conditions, down to -45ºC. When stored as a liquid in a tank, it exerts a greater pressure than Butane at the same temperature.So Propane, as an LPG, is most suitable for exterior storage and use. Its ability to operate in low temperatures makes it the most suitable LPG for many applications. Propane is widely used as a fuel source for domestic and commercial heating, hot water and cooking. It also has a wide range of uses in industry and agriculture.
If you smell gas:
- Switch off the emergency valve on the outside wall of the building and turn off the gas at the main shut off valve under the tank hood.
- Extinguish all naked flames immediately.
- Do not operate any electrical equipment and be aware of any equipment which may switch on or off automatically.
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the building.
- Contact your installer or the engineer who maintains your appliances.