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Propane vs LPG

Gas is an important fuel with lots of uses, available in various forms such as natural gas, butane, propane and LPG. Let’s cut through the chatter and get to know more about liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and understand its many applications.

Not sure if it’s Propane or LPG? Let’s clear that up!

Many gas appliances sold in Australia are manufactured overseas. The user manual may state that the appliance is made for use with propane gas. But where do you buy propane and what is it? The good news is that propane is readily available in Australia and marketed as LPG. In other words, propane and LPG are the same thing. They simply go by different names.

LPG in Australia is 100% propane, whereas in New Zealand LPG is 60:40 Propane:Butane. Both propane and butane are liquefied petroleum gases, so a mixture of the two is still LPG. Their chemical formulas are C3H8 (Propane / LPG) and C4H10 (Butane).

There are many flammable hydrocarbon gases, some related to LPG, such as butane, isobutane, methane, ethane and ethylene.

Switching from natural gas to propane or LPG

Natural gas and Propane (LPG) are both suitable for use in homes and businesses. But Australia is a huge continent and there are parts of the country not serviced by the natural gas network. For a reliable alternative to natural gas or electricity, consider LPG for cooking, heating, hot water and more. If you have a natural gas stovetop on your oven, for example, switching over to LPG can be as easy as replacing the burner rings with LPG-friendly ones.

Although natural gas and propane/LPG can perform the same functions, they’re different types of gases. Natural gas is Methane (CH4), whereas LPG is Propane (C3H8). LPG is heavier than air while natural gas is lighter than air. Both are gases at standard room temperature and pressure (STP).

LPG is a product of natural gas processing and petroleum oil refining. Once refined, LPG is stored in liquid form under pressure in gas bottles or tanks. These tanks or cylinders come in various sizes, from small, portable SWAP’n’GO BBQ gas cylinders to large 240kg LPG (Propane) cylinders suitable for businesses and large enterprises.

Using natural gas vs propane gas or LPG to heat your home

Propane is the same as LPG, which is short for liquified petroleum gas. It can be a by-product of crude oil extraction. Butane is another type of LPG with a heat content of 93.2MJ/m3. Natural gas is primarily methane and has a heat content of 38.7MJ/M3. Natural gas is delivered via gas pipelines underground. LPG is delivered in propane tanks or cylinders similar to the ones used for BBQs.

Natural Gas (methane) is colourless and non-toxic. It’s a hydrocarbon commonly used for cooking and heating. It’s popular due to its wide availability in most areas, high efficiency and clean burning. Natural gas is a hydrocarbon producing about half the CO2 and one tenth of the air pollution produced by burning coal.

LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) is also a colourless hydrocarbon gas. LPG is Pressurised into a liquid form and is commonly used for heaters, cooking, barbecues and powering vehicle engines. It’s a popular alternative to electricity for homes not connected to the natural gas network. This gas is perfect for cooking and will bring water to boiling point fast.

LPG (Propane) is highly efficient and low in carbon. It holds a great amount of energy when in its liquified state, making it very energy-efficient for use around the home and on the road.

Best gas to use for BBQs

Every type of power source has its ideal applications, and BBQ enthusiasts around Australia vote with their tongs to declare LPG as the best choice. At Elgas, we take the indoor/outdoor Australian lifestyle seriously, so we have established an Australia-wide SWAP’n’GO network where you can swap your empty LPG gas bottle for a full one in no time. SWAP’n’GO is all about convenience so the grilling isn’t delayed and the BBQ is a success.

With more than 5,000 SWAP’n’GO partners at service stations and convenience stores all around Australia, there’s bound to be one near you.

Considering your emissions when choosing gas for your needs
Elgas supports initiatives aimed at lowering carbon emissions and putting a cap on global warming. We are an energy service provider with years of experience in the industry plus the knowledge to make a difference. If you’re considering using LPG (Propane) for your home or business energy needs speak to an Elgas expert who can help you make environmentally friendly choices.

Alternative names for LPG

There are a lot of names LPG is known by. Here are some of the common names and acronyms used.

  • Liquefied petroleum gas Liquefied petroleum gas is the full name for the commonly used acronym of LPG.
  • LPG Gas The ‘G’ at the end of LPG stands for ‘Gas’, so by saying LPG gas you are actually saying liquid petroleum gas gas. Although not proper English it’s a commonly used acronym.
  • PropaneLPG in Australia is the same as propane. In the United States it’s commonly called propane and rarely called LPG.
  • ButaneIn some countries and for some uses LPG is composed of a mix of propane and butane. Butane is another form of LPG.
  • Gas bottles A common expression, ‘gas bottles’ are bottles that hold LPG. LPG delivered in gas bottles is ideal in areas without natural gas connection.
  • BBQ gas Those portable SWAP’n’GO gas bottles you see at petrol stations or hooked up to the BBQ are a popular way to use LPG.
  • Autogas Vehicles can be converted to run off LPG instead of, or in addition to, petrol. LPG sold at the petrol station is called autogas.
  • GPL – Internationally, the acronym ‘LPG’ has its letters jumbled. In France and Italy, LPG is known as GPL. This stands for ‘gaz de petrole liquefie’ and ‘gas di petrolio liquefatto’ respectively.
Advantages of cooking with LPG or propane gas

Whether you’re looking for a better cooking or heating system for your home or business, propane is one of the most readily available fuels, and has been extremely popular in the residential and industrial marketplace in Australia for decades. Here are some of the many benefits of cooking with this type of gas.

  1. Versatility – In terms of residential use, propane is commonly used for home heating, water heating and cooking. Propane is used by people all around Australia for BBQs and camp cooking. Propane is also used to fuel vehicles and agricultural machinery.
  2. Safe to use – All types of fuel have the potential of being mishandled and becoming unsafe, however, propane is considered a very safe gas when used according to safety guidelines. In its pure form, propane is non-toxic and odorless. When processed however, propane (LPG) has a strong odour similar to rotten eggs. This odour is useful as it alerts users if there is a gas leak. A substance called mercaptan is also added to natural gas to create odour, making leaks easier to detect.
  3. Competitive price – Though propane isn’t considered the cheapest cooking fuel, it’s on the lower end of the pricing scale. Propane is delivered in gas tanks (bottles, cylinders) making it easy to estimate how much propane you need to purchase and can afford.
  4. Portable power – Propane is very portable. Whether you want to grill and have gas-powered lighting on a camping trip, or you want to store fuel at home in case of an emergency, propane is ideal. Propane is very light and SWAP’n’GO containers are sturdy enough to withstand extensive travel.
  5. Refuel anywhere – Another great SWAP’n’GO advantage is the ability to refuel your propane (LPG) cylinder anywhere. Propane is commonly used Australia-wide and distributed via a network of SWAP’n’GO retailers who will get you fueled-up and back on the road in no time.
  6. Ideal in rural areas – Propane use is most prevalent in rural areas where there is no natural gas pipeline network. Propane is also a great alternative to electricity and the perfect fuel to use while transitioning toward alternative energy sources away from fossil fuels.
  7. Great for restaurants – Grills, cooktops and industrial ovens can all be fueled with propane. This is the fuel of choice for chefs who want instant heat and precision control. Propane heats fast and has a high energy output with little energy waste, making it perfect for gas appliances.
How to maintain and store liquefied petroleum gas in propane form

Propane gas bottles are built tough to handle a few knocks while setting up the BBQ or during transportation. Larger cylinders can be lifted by forklift and transported by truck. However, there are some important safety tips worth keeping in mind.

  • Transport propane cylinders in an upright, secure position where they won’t roll or shift.
  • When moving cylinders, always turn the valve off and close securely with a plug.
  • Put the cylinder in a ventilated area of your vehicle. Never leave a filled cylinder in a hot car.
  • Keep propane cylinders outside. Never keep them in an enclosed area such as a basement.
  • Keep them in a cool place. Don’t expose cylinders to heat above 120 degrees.
  • Keep propane cylinders away from flames. This includes smoking or spark-producing tools.
  • Ensure the regulator and connections are functioning correctly.

FAQ’s:

Is LPG same as propane?

Yes it is. LPG is known by many names including propane, butane and BBQ gas. In the United States, LPG is almost always called propane. Find out more in the Elgas Blog.

Which is more expensive: LPG or propane?

They are the same product and therefore the same price. The acronym LPG covers several different liquid petroleum gases. In New Zealand, for example, LPG is a mixture of propane and butane, although the price is comparable to pure propane gas (LPG) sold in Australia. For all your home and business LPG (Propane) needs, contact Elgas for best available prices and service.

Comments, questions or feedback?
Please Email us at: [email protected]

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.

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