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Is Propane a Liquid or a Gas?

Written on: June 12, 2023

Learn more about this versatile, efficient energy source!

propane Braintree, ma Whether you are new to having propane in your South Shore home or have been enjoying the benefits it provides for a long time, you may not know everything there is to know about propane.

Williams Energy is here to help! We’re a full-service propane company and provide dependable propane delivery, propane tank installation and leasing, wireless propane tank monitoring, our Tanks to You propane cylinder exchange, and propane appliance installation and service.

We also are here to help with information about propane so you can learn more about it, and propane safety so you have peace of mind about having propane in your home.

What is propane?

Is propane a liquid? A gas? It can be both, just not at the same time! Propane, which is also called liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is a gas that is typically compressed and stored in liquid form. Once it leaves your propane tank and travels via the gas lines into your home, it is a gas again.

In 1864, an English industrial chemist and academic named Edmund Ronalds discovered propane (C₃H₈) while studying volatile chemicals in crude oil.

Walter O. Snelling, an American chemist, found out in 1910 while studying the evaporation of gasoline that some of the gases in it could be turned into liquids. He discovered that propane was the most plentiful of these new gases.

Snelling devised and patented a way of bottling the liquid gas which ultimately established the propane industry. Today, the term “bottle gas” or “bottled gas” is still utilized to refer to propane. Frank Philips, from Phillips Petroleum, bought Snelling’s patent for $50,000, which is worth $1.4 million today. This happened three years after Snelling’s patent was created. It was a wise business decision by Frank Philips.

How is propane made?

Propane, a type of fuel, is primarily produced in the US through natural gas and crude oil processing. As a result, 90% of our country’s propane supply comes from domestic sources.

Natural gas production. Currently, around 70% of the propane we use domestically is obtained through natural gas extraction. This is because natural gas consists of various gases, including propane, which can be separated.

To avoid condensation inside natural gas pipelines, they extract propane and butane during processing. Propane is more useful because it can be transported and stored as a liquid because it’s denser in that state compared to when it’s a gas.

Crude oil refining. Propane is produced as a by-product during the stabilization process of crude oil refining, when the heavier hydrocarbons are separated. Propane is lighter than gasoline and diesel, making it easy to separate from other petroleum derivatives. There are other products that can be derived from this process, such as kerosene and heating oil. Propane plays a significant role in energy production worldwide, on both small and large scales, thanks to efficient extraction methods.

Ready for propane delivery and service you can count on? Become a Williams Energy customer today!