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Uses of LPG - Propane Uses: What is LPG Used For? Uses of Liquefied Petroleum Gas

What is LPG used for?  LPG applications - cooking

LPG - liquefied petroleum gas or liquid petroleum gas – (LP gas), the constituents of which are propane and butane, are flammable hydrocarbon fuel gases used for heating, cooking, hot water and vehicular fuel.

LPG is a fuel gas. Liquefied petroleum gas or liquid petroleum gas – LPG - also identified as propane or butane, are flammable hydrocarbon gas mixtures used as fuel in vehicles, as Autogas, and as home heating and cooking fuel.

Autogas is the term used for LPG used as vehicular fuel. Autogas demand is growing because it is cheaper than both gasoline and diesel whilst it also has less CO2 and particulate emissions. However, over 85% of LPG consumed is for home heating, cooking and hot water applications.

LPG is a versatile fuel and used around the world as an alternate fuel for various LPG applications including residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture and autogas. In areas lacking natural gas, LPG is the best alternate fuel. Heating, cooking, hot water and drying are common LPG applications.

LPG-propane uses include residential cooking, heating, hot water and vehicle fuel. Propane-LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) uses for commercial purposes include LPG applications like petrochemical feedstock. aerosol propellant, air conditioning refrigerant and as fuel for power generators.

LPG (petroleum gas) is used for hundreds, if not thousands, of LPG applications in addition to as a residential fuel gas, including being employed in many commercial and agricultural heat applications.

LPG is a gaseous flammable hydrocarbon fuel and is also referred to as natural gas liquids – NGL.

And there are many more ways to use LPG…

LPG Application - Liquefied Petroleum Gas Applications

There are well over 1000 LPG applications worldwide. Millions of people use LPG - liquefied petroleum gas - relying on it for thousands of LPG applications including cooking, heating, hot water, BBQ fuel, power generation, transportation, agriculture, business and industry.

What is LPG Used For - LPG Applications

LPG - Propane Uses - LPG Application
What is LPG - Propane Used For?
LPG Application
 General Area of Use  Specific Applications
 In Homes  Cooking, Hot Water, Heating, BBQ
 Electricity Generation  Generators, Gas Turbines, Co-gen & Tri-Gen
 Leisure  Boats, Recreational Vehicles
 Camping  Caravan Parks, Camp Grounds, Camping
 Hospitality Industry  Hotels, Restaurants, Clubs, Pubs
 Transportation  Autogas, Taxis, Buses, Commercial Vehicles
 Business & Industry  Boilers, Forklifts, Ovens, Furnaces
 Agriculture  Crop Drying, Greenhouses, Flame Weeding
 Livestock  Dairies, Poultry Sheds, Piggeries
 Fun  Hot Air Balloons, Ice Rink Resurfacing
 And More  Many, Many More...

How is LPG Used in Your Home - Uses of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in the Home

LPG fuelLPG used in your home is typically supplied in 45kg LPG gas bottles. Main uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) in your home, including cooking, heating, hot water, autogas, aerosol propellant, air conditioning refrigerant and back-up generator applications. 

If you are a weekend balloonists, LPG is also used to fuel for hot air balloons.

LPG fuel is comprised of propane and/or butane (CNG & LNG are methane).

LPG is a hydrocarbon fuel that can be compressed into a liquid for storage in steel vessels.

LPG for Cooking

LPG used for cooking

There are many types of cooking appliances that are amongst the main LPG applications. The most common are gas cooktops and ovens. Gas cooktops are the preferred choice of professional as well as home chefs.

Outdoor cooking is also a popular LPG application. 

Everyone is familiar with LPG used for gas BBQs. 

There are also LPG gas pizza ovens, spit roasters and smokers.

How is Cooking Gas Produced

Cooking gas is produced exactly the same way LPG (propane) is made, from a manufacturing production process that occurs during natural gas processing and oil refining. That's because cooking gas is LPG (propane) and not some different gas.

Cooking gas can also be produced using natural gas or piped gas.

LPG for Heating

LPG used for heatingThe two most common LPG heaters types are one main uses of LPG to generate radiant heat and convection heat. LPG heaters can be portable, in-built consoles or an entire ducted heating system built into the home.

One of the most spectacular LPG applications of LPG is for gas fireplaces & gas log fires

These units use LPG to provide a rare mixture of beauty and warmth.

Gas fireplaces and gas log fire heaters can add to the ambiance of any room while supplying welcoming warmth to your entire home.

Although not common in Australia, The LPG application for hydronic heating is popular in Europe.  

The LPG is used to heat the water that travels through a closed pipe system to radiators. 

The radiators are positioned all the way through the home.  

The hot water can also be used to heat in-floor systems, which provides heat that radiates upward.

LPG for Hot Water

LPG used for hot water

The main uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) include LPG hot water systems, which are very reliable and efficient. In Australia, we have the traditional storage tank LPG hot water heaters and the tankless continuous flow LPG hot water systems.

Tankless continuous flow LPG gas hot water heater systems provide hot water on demand whenever you turn on the tap and you save energy, too.

These units only heat the water as it passes through.

LPG for Backup Generators

Using LPG to fuel backup generators has one really great advantage.  LPG never “goes off” like diesel and petrol. You can store LPG almost indefinitely without any degradation of the fuel.

LPG applications for backup generators are very popular in the USA. 

LPG for Off the Grid Generation

People who live off-the-grid (OTG) are amongst the main uses of LPG to generate their electricity. LPG also supplements renewable solar energy sources, which are dependent on sunlight and weather.

New cogeneration units are now on the market that also produce heat in addition to electricity.

These are known as Micro Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP or MCHP) for the smaller sized units that are typically used in homes. 

Uses of LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - for Leisure

LPG for Caravans, Boats & Recreational Vehicles

LPG used for Leisure - 9kg gas bottle

Most caravans use LPG gas bottles for their cooking and heating. Many also have an LPG powered refrigerator. LPG is also used with small portable generators for all types of recreational activities.

The same is true for boats and other recreational vehicles.

There are even non-metalic gas bottles made of composite materials. 

These solve the rust problems experienced, by boaters, on salt water.

LPG is perfect for all of these LPG applications because of its portability and almost universal availability.

LPG for Hot Air Balloons

LPG used for hot air balloons

Modern balloonists have two choice to get their balloons airborne — helium or hot air.

As helium is quite expensive to use on a recreational basis, hot air is the method of choice and LPG is the fuel of choice.

Hot air balloons are probably the biggest leisure users of LPG, as they heat the air within the balloon air envelope.

A balloon would typically have 2, 3 or 4 burners.

The burners themselves can either hang from the bottom of the envelope or be mounted to framework on the top of the basket (gondola).

The balloon pilot operates a valve to control the burners and how much heat is added to the air within the envelope.

LPG Application for Camp Grounds and Caravan Parks

Given that they are typically in a remote location, LPG is popular with camp ground and caravan park operators. Hot water for communal shower blocks and laundries are the primary LPG applications, along with powering shared kitchens.

LPG Application for Camping

The uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) can include camping gas bottles, which are small, portable and can power an assortment of camping gear.  Leisure sized cookers use LPG for everything from a small camping stove, which can fit in a backpack, to fuelling a kitchen in a boat or recreational vehicle.

Gas lights are one of the oldest LPG applications and they are still used by campers today.

There are also small camping heaters that mount directly to the gas bottle, as well as free standing models.

LPG for Ice Skating

LPG used for ice resurfacing

If you ice skate, you probably have LPG to thank for the nice smooth ice at the ice rink. One of the most unusual leisure LPG applications is to power ice resurfacing machines, as used at ice skating rinks.

They are the big machines that motor around an ice rink making rough ice into something almost as smooth as glass.

For example, the Zamboni® ice resurfacing machines uses two LPG forklift cylinders as their gas supply.

At the front of the machine, a sharp blade shaves the upper surface off of the ice.

Warm water is dispensed out of the back of the machine, spread by a towed towel, resulting in a smooth ice surface.

LPG Applications for Golf

Commercial lawnmowers — the kind that are used on golf courses — use LPG in forklift cylinders.

They are perfect for golf courses because they are used in close proximity to the golfers, who appreciate the low noise and emissions.

There is also no risk of a fuel spill that could contaminate the course.

LPG for Mosquito Control

There are even mosquito traps that use LPG to generate CO2, heat and moisture, all things that mosquitos find attractive. 

The mosquitos are subsequently trapped inside the unit, making camping a whole lot more enjoyable.

LPG Uses in the Hospitality Industry

LPG Applications for Hotels

LPG ensures that you never have customer complaints about lack of hot water, as continuous flow units never run out.  No guest complaints about noise either, as LPG hot water systems are quiet.

The hot water is also used for the hotel laundry, with the daily mass of towels and bed linens that need to be cleaned.

The hotel restaurant would also use LPG for cooking and hot water.

LPG Application for Restaurants

Most professional chefs prefer to cook with gas.

It's very responsive which is particularly important for cooking, where instant heat and fingertip-control are so important.

LPG gives them that option no matter where the restaurant is located.

LPG Applications for Clubs and Pubs

Clubs and pubs use LPG much like restaurants. Their kitchens rely on LPG for cooking and hot water for dishwashing.

Clubs and pubs frequently have outdoor trading areas, as well. 

LPG outdoor heaters allow them to extend the useful season of these outdoor areas, increasing seating and revenues. 

Most important, it increases customer comfort.

Uses of LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - for Power

LPG for Primary Electricity Generation

As previously mentioned, uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) can include fuel electric generators for residential applications. In remote areas, LPG is used in combination with diesel fuel to power larger generators. 

The LPG replaces some of the diesel fuel used to run the engine and saves money for the operator. 

Farm irrigation pumps and mining camps are two of the more common LPG applications for these larger generation units.

LPG for Cogeneration & Tri-Generation

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems are used where both heat and electricity are required. 

This process is called cogeneration where heat and electricity are both produced simultaneously using a single fuel source and system. 

Tri-Generation is the newest innovation.  Combined Cooling, Heat & Power (CCHP) uses LPG in the simultaneous production of cooling, heat and electricity from a single system and fuel source. 

Uses of LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - for Transportation

LPG for Autogas

The uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) can include LPG used to power vehicles, which is typically referred to as “autogas”.  Autogas is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn’t just used for cars.  LPG is used to fuel commercial vehicles, as well.

With an octane rating over 100, LPG can be used to substitute for petrol in virtually all petrol powered vehicles.  Autogas conversions are very common and are often a bi-fuel system. 

The vehicles can change back and forth between fuels with the flick of a switch.

LPG provides a nearly 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 80% reduction in carbon monoxide as compared to conventional gasoline.

It is estimated that there are 23 Million LPG powered vehicles worldwide.

LPG for Buses

In the USA, it has become increasingly popular to use LPG to fuel school buses. 

The ubiquitous yellow buses are seen everywhere in the US.

The operating school systems benefit from reduced fuel costs and the community gets cleaner air. 

LPG for Large Trucks & Engines

As with large generators, large trucks can use LPG in combination with diesel to save money. This practice is very literally known as “diesel substitution”. This substitution can range from 15% to 50%, with a Diesel - LPG fuel mix.

The benefits of using LPG in transportation are a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced operating costs, as LPG is less expensive than either petrol or diesel fuel, in most countries.

LPG for Asphalt or Bitumen Road Building

Roads construction is a slightly different transportation application for LPG. LPG is used in the production of asphalt/bitumen from petroleum.  This is, in turn, used to surface roads.

It is also used to power the large asphalt road plants that apply the asphalt to the roadway surface.

Uses of LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - for Business & Industry

LPG for Boilers

The most common uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), in industry, is to fuel boilers to generate steam and hot water. LPG can be used with either fire-tube or water-tube boilers. 

The steam is then used in a myriad of processes. 

LPG for Forklifts

LPG used for forkliftsWhilst not a primary industrial process, LPG use in forklifts is a major consumer of LPG and is essential to keep business and commerce moving. LPG forklifts compare favourably to either the electric or diesel alternatives.

LPG forklifts are capable of maintaining 100% power throughout the day. 

LPG forklifts can also be used both indoors and outdoors, unlike their electric and diesel counterparts. 

The initial capital cost is also usually lower when compared with either electric or diesel forklifts.

LPG for Direct Heat Applications

LPG used for gas kilnLPG has accurate temperature control and clean combustion, with no carbon deposition. 

These are both advantageous for the production of many products. 

Kilns for brick & tile manufacturing, the ceramics industry and sanitaryware production all use LPG. 

Waste heat is also recycled to use in the driers, which remove moisture before firing.

Industrial ovens for the food industry, including baking and meat preparation, are also very common LPG applications. 

The clean burning nature of LPG is crucial to food processing. 

There are also many other industrial processes that use ovens for heating and curing.

LPG for Drying

LPG is used to generate heat for all kinds of drying applications.  Bricks, paper, concrete, food and textiles are just some of the industries where LPG is used for drying.

LPG for Metals

Metals are an obvious LPG application. Metal furnaces, casting, moulding, welding, flame cutting and soldering are just some of the uses of LPG that involve molten metals.  LPG is also used in the annealing process.

LPG for Commercial, Hotel and Hospital Laundries

LPG used for commercial hot water

LPG is used to heat the water and power the dryers for hotels, hospitals and commercial laundries.

Large scale washing and drying of clothes, towels and bedding requires a lot of energy.

LPG can also be scaled up to accommodate even the largest of laundries.

LPG provides large quantities of hot water supply over a short period of time.

Users get a constant supply of on-demand hot water without storage tanks

Uses of LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas - for Glass

The uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) can include small and large scale glass production. Small LPG kilns are used by artists for glass blowing and to make decorative glass.

Larger automated kilns are used for commercial glassware production.

Large float glass production, to produce flat glass, can also be fuelled by LPG.

LPG is also used for making tempered or safety glass by way of a secondary heat process.

LPG for Aerosols

LPG is used as a propellant gas in various aerosol products including cosmetics, paints and pesticides.  LPG is naturally colourless and odourless, making it ideal for propellant use. 

Butane is typically preferred over Propane for propellant applications.  Both are considered to be LPG.

LPG was chosen to replace CFC gases as it does not contain any ozone depleting substances, making it more environmentally safe.

LPG for Refrigerants

Propane, butane and isobutane are all used in refrigeration but for different applications. 

They have different refrigeration uses because of their different thermodynamic properties.

They are used to replace the harmful CFC refrigerants, such as R-12, R-22, R-134a.

High purity propane (>97.5%) is used as a refrigerant, known as R290.

Both n-Butane (R-600) and i-Butane (R600a) are also used as refrigerants.

The three gases can also be mixed to achieve different properties, such as with R-290a, a mixture of isobutane and propane.

Just as with propellants, LPG gases also replaced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as refrigerants, to preserve the ozone layer.

LPG for Cremation

Whilst not a subject people like to talk about, many people prefer cremation over burial or entombment.

LPG provides clean heat and the higher burning temperatures that are required for cremation.

LPG Uses in Agriculture

LPG for Crop & Produce Drying

Crop drying is one of the most common use for LPG in agriculture.  Grains, nuts, tobacco and dried fruit are just some examples of agricultural products dried using LPG.

Moisture must be removed from agricultural products to prevent spoilage.

LPG for Greenhouses

LPG used for greenhouses

The obvious reason LPG is used for greenhouses is to keep them warm in colder weather.

A typical blower heater is shown above.

The less obvious reason LPG is used is for the CO2 enrichment of the greenhouse atmosphere to improve plant growth.

LPG for Dairy Farmers

Dairy farmers require considerable amounts of hot water to run their dairies.

LPG can be used to produce large quantities of hot water on a continuous basis, to meet dairy farmers needs.

It is also used to process milk products in larger processing facilities for activities like pasteurisation and production of dried milk products.

LPG for Bird and Animal Habitats

LPG used for agriculture

LPG is used for space heating in poultry sheds, piggeries and brooders to maintain healthy temperatures for optimal growth.

Direct flame application is also used to kill bugs and parasites in the dirt floors of the animal and bird enclosures. 

This technique can sanitise the soil without the use of harmful chemicals.

LPG for Irrigation

LPG used for irrigation

The need for irrigation in agriculture requires no explanation.

However, to save on energy costs, farmers are using LPG to fuel their large irrigation pumps, often in combination with diesel. 

In most countries, LPG is more cost effective than either petrol or diesel.

LPG for Flame Weeding

LPG used for flame weeding

LPG is used for non-chemical weed control. LPG flame weeding uses a direct flame or infrared burner to vaporise the water in the plant.

The weed is exposed to sufficient heat to be dead within three days.

Flame weeding systems range from large tractor mounted units, with sizable LPG supply tanks, to small handheld units for spot weed control.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LPG

The following are lists comparing the advantages and disadvantages of LPG:

Advantages of LPG

  • LPG has an indefinite shelf life making it perfect for backup generators

  • LPG is a portable energy source good for camping and going off grid

  • LPG is available virtually anywhere and easily transportable

  • LPG energy density is higher than natural gas

  • LPG is low tech with easy to use applications

  • LPG is a low carbon fuel emiting low levels of CO2

  • LPG is clean burning with virtually no particulate emissions

  • Using LPG requires very little infrastructure

Disadvantages of LPG

  • LPG is a fossil fuel

  • LPG needs to be delivered

  • LPG incurs delivery costs

  • LPG does produce some CO2 when burned

  • LPG is flammable and potentially explosive

  • LPG is heavier than air so can accumulate in the event of a leak

Final Thoughts on the Uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)

There are many, many more uses of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) than listed above.

Cleaning, disinfecting, roofing, commercial car washes and petrochemical feedstock are just a few.

LPG is an amazingly versatile and transportable fuel that is an integral part of our everyday lives.




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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.