ELGAS Knowledge Hub

All you need to know about LPG

27 Mar, 2023 | Business LPG, Residential LPG

In this article:

A quick guide on the most important aspects of LPG - where it comes from, how it is manufactured, its uses, what makes it eco-friendly and more.
All about LPG

LPG is an acronym for liquefied petroleum gas and is primarily the flammable hydrocarbon gases propane and butane used as fuel for gas heaters, cookers, and LPG vehicles. LPG is used indoors in homes and outdoors for BBQs, camp stoves and many other applications.

What is LPG?

There are a number of fuel gases that fall under the LPG products label, including propane, butane (n-butane) and isobutane (i-butane), as well as mixtures of these gases. They are also referred to as natural gas liquids or NGLs.

LP gas is colourless and odourless until an odorant is added for safety reasons. When compressed, LPG takes liquid form, and when burnt it has a high energy content. It can be conveniently stored and transported and is an excellent fuel for heating, cooking, and many other applications.

What is LPG made of?

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms forming propane and butane whilst natural gas is made up of lighter methane. Flammable hydrocarbon gases (LPG) are liquefied through pressurisation and commonly used as fuel. Natural gas is liquefied cryogenically. ELGAS LPG is stored in steel vessels ranging from small BBQ gas cylinders to larger gas cylinders and tanks.

When used in homes for cooking, heating, and hot water it’s called LPG. When used in vehicles LPG is generally called Autogas. In small portable cylinders, LPG is sometimes referred to as BBQ gas or camping gas. Commercial heating applications include industrial boilers. Isobutane is the other common LPG gas, used as a refrigerant and for various manufacturing processes.


New to LPG? Choose ELGAS.

ELGAS is Australia’s largest LPG supplier and services the LPG energy needs of more than 350,000 homes and businesses. Whether you are looking for LPG for your home, LPG for your business, or SWAP’n’GO for your BBQ, contact ELGAS today!

Where does LPG come from?

LPG products are found naturally in combination with other hydrocarbons and fossil fuels, typically crude oil and natural gas. LPG is produced during natural gas processing and oil refining. When isolated, LPG can be liquefied through pressurisation and stored in pressure vessels commonly referred to as gas cylinders or gas tanks. ELGAS LPG is stored in various ways.

  • Small SWAP’n’GO cylinders contain LPG used for camp stoves, BBQs, and outdoor heating
    • Cylinders ranging from 45kg-210kg for homes and businesses
    • Large LPG tanks used for industrial and commercial applications

Refining LPG from oil and gas

A gas/oil mixture is piped out of oil wells and into a gas trap, which separates the stream into crude oil and ‘wet’ gas. This mixture contains LPG and liquefied natural gas. The heavier crude oil sinks to the bottom of the trap and is then pumped into an oil storage tank and transported to refineries. LPG is one of the refined products derived from crude oil distillation.

Once refined, LPG products are stored as a liquid in gas cylinders such as the familiar 45kg cylinders available from ELGAS. The natural gas, which is mostly methane, is piped to towns and cities as natural gas for distribution by gas utility companies in Australia.

How is LPG used?

ELGAS LPG is used for cooking, heating, hot water, autogas, aerosol propellant, air conditioning refrigerant and backup generator applications. LPG for home use is typically supplied in 45kg LPG gas cylinders.

LPG has many additional uses for caravans, motorhomes, boats, camping and even hot air balloons. Business, industrial and agricultural uses for LPG include processes such as kilns, ovens, steam boilers and LPG-powered powered forklifts.

LPG Vaporisation

LPG liquid turns back into gas vapour at boiling point when you release some of the pressure in the gas cylinder by turning on your gas appliance. Vaporisation also makes the gas cylinder feel colder than the ambient temperature and even colder when you are using the gas. The LPG gas vapour is held at the top of the cylinder and the liquid LPG is at the bottom.

The level of fill in the gas cylinder (LPG cylinder) comes into play when the LPG is being used, as it affects the rate of vaporisation. As LPG is a liquefied gas, the pressure inside the cylinder will remain the same from full until the last of the liquid LPG is vapourised, making it a consistent and reliable fuel source.

LPG Chemical formula

There are a number of liquid petroleum gas (LPG gas) chemical formulas. Starting with the lowest carbon LPG chemical formula, the Ethane chemical formula is C2H6. The LPG (propane) chemical formula is C3H8. Butane and Isobutane both have the same chemical formula, C4H10, as isobutane is an isomer of butane. Pentane (n-pentane) chemical formula is C5H12, but is only a gas over 36.1°C. Heavier hydrocarbons (pentanes plus) are liquids or waxy solids.

Eco-friendly clean burning LPG

LPG (propane gas) is an eco-friendly energy choice, as it is a low-carbon, low-sulphur fuel. LPG products result in lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than other energy sources, such as coal-fired electricity. Replacing your electric hot water system with a 6-Star LPG continuous flow hot water system can reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced from your hot water use by about 75%. LPG can help lower greenhouse emissions during the transition to renewable energy sources.

Make the switch to ELGAS LPG

If you are looking for an Australian alternative to electricity, ELGAS LPG gas supply could be the perfect energy source for you. Contact ELGAS for LPG for home or LPG for business. Our experts are on hand to answer any questions you have and will help you sort out the most cost-effective and energy-efficient LPG service for your home or business.



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