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Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Lliquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also called LP gas, any of several liquid mixtures of the volatile hydrocarbons propene, propane, butene, and butane. It was used as early as 1860 for a portable fuel source, and its production and consumption for both domestic and industrial use have expanded ever since. A typical commercial mixture may also contain ethane and ethylene, as well as a volatile mercaptan, an odorant added as a safety precaution.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is recovered from “wet” natural gas (gas with condensable heavy petroleum compounds) by absorption. The recovered product has a low boiling point and must be distilled to remove the lighter fractions and then be treated to remove hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and water. The finished product is transported by pipeline and by specially built seagoing tankers. Transportation by truck, rail, and barge has also developed

LPG reaches the domestic consumer in cylinders under relatively low pressures. The largest part of the LPG produced is used in central heating systems, and the next largest as raw material for chemical plants. LPG commonly is used as fuel for gas barbecue grills and gas cooktops and ovens, for gas fireplaces, and in portable heaters. In Europe, LPG water heaters are common. It is also used as an engine fuel and for backup generators. Unlike diesel, LPG can be stored nearly indefinitely without degradation. Compare liquefied natural gas.


Many people in need of energy are located far from gas fields, making pipelines too impractical or costly to build. To get around this problem, gas can be cooled to make a liquid, shrinking its volume for easier, safer storage and shipping overseas. LNG is a clear, colorless and non-toxic liquid which forms when natural gas is cooled to -162ºC (-260ºF). The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas 600 times, making it easier and safer to store and ship. In its liquid state, LNG will not ignite. When LNG reaches its destination, it is turned back into a gas at regasification plants. It is then piped to homes, business and industries where it is burnt for heat or to generate electricity. LNG is now also emerging as a cost-competitive and cleaner transport fuel, especially for shipping and heavy-duty road transport.