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292/365 – LPG

Liquefied petroleum gas, also called LPG, GPL, LP Gas, liquid petroleum gas or simply propane, is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel in heating appliances and vehicles.

It is increasingly used as an aerosol propellant and a refrigerant, replacing chlorofluorocarbons in an effort to reduce damage to the ozone layer.

When specifically used as a vehicle fuel it is often referred to as autogas.   Varieties of LPG bought and sold include mixes that are primarily propane (C3H8), primarily butane (C4H10) and, most commonly, mixes including both propane and butane, depending on the season — in winter more propane, in summer more butane.

In the United States, primarily only two grades of LPG are sold, commercial propane and HD-5. These specifications are published by the Gas Processors Association (GPA) and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Propane/butane blends are also listed in these specifications. Propylene, butylenes and various other hydrocarbons are usually also present in small concentrations. HD-5 limits the amount of propylene that can be placed in LPG, and is utilized as an autogas specification.

A powerful odorant, ethanethiol, is added so that leaks can be detected easily. The international standard is EN 589. In the United States, tetrahydrothiophene (thiophane) or amyl mercaptan are also approved odorants, although neither is currently being utilized.

LPG is synthesised by refining petroleum or “wet” natural gas, and is almost entirely derived from fossil fuel sources, being manufactured during the refining of petroleum (crude oil), or extracted from petroleum or natural gas streams as they emerge from the ground.

It was first produced in 1910 by Dr. Walter Snelling, and the first commercial products appeared in 1912. It currently provides about 3% of all energy consumed, and burns relatively cleanly with no soot and very few sulfur emissions. As it is a gas, it does not pose ground or water pollution hazards, but it can cause air pollution.

LPG has a typical specific calorific value of 46.1 MJ/kg compared with 42.5 MJ/kg for fuel oil and 43.5 MJ/kg for premium grade petrol (gasoline). However, its energy density per volume unit of 26 MJ/l is lower than either that of petrol or fuel oil.

LPG evaporates quickly at normal temperatures and pressures and is usually supplied in pressurised steel gas cylinders. They are typically filled to between 80% and 85% of their capacity to allow for thermal expansion of the contained liquid.

The ratio between the volumes of the vaporized gas and the liquefied gas varies depending on composition, pressure, and temperature, but is typically around 250:1.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquefied_petroleum_gas

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