ELGAS Knowledge Hub

LPG Vs Natural Gas

27 Jun, 2023 | Business LPG, Residential LPG

In this article:

Differences between Natural Gas and LPG and how to choose the best option for your needs.
LPG Vs Natural Gas

LPG and Natural Gas are chemically different gases. Natural gas is methane gas whilst LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is propane or butane, usually sold as bottled gas. LPG and natural gas have different energy content and gas/air mixes for combustion and working pressure. Whereas LPG is sold in gas bottles (cylinders), natural gas is conveyed by pipeline. LPG has more than double the energy content of natural gas, making it more efficient and cheaper in many cases.

LPG vs Natural Gas – Key Differences

• LPG has a higher calorific value or energy content, so less gas is required to produce the same amount of heat.
• Another key difference is in the oxygen-to-gas ratio required for proper combustion. LPG requires an oxygen-to-gas ratio of approximately 25 to 1. Natural gas requires a ratio of around 10 to 1.
• LPG is propane and butane while natural gas is methane
• LPG is heavier than air while natural gas is lighter than air
• LPG is liquefied through pressurisation.
• Natural gas is cryogenically turned into liquefied natural gas – LNG
• LPG is distributed in gas bottles, cylinders, and tanks
• Natural gas is conveyed via pipeline
• LPG appliances operate at 2.75 kPa
• Liquified LPG turns from liquid to gas at a relatively low temperature
• Natural gas appliances operate at 1.1 kPa

LPG is not natural gas but is derived from natural gas processing and has higher energy content. It is portable and available everywhere. although there are major differences between the two, LPG and Natural Gas are used for thousands of applications in homes and businesses.

LPG – LNG – CNG – What is the difference?

LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is natural gas (methane) in cryogenic storage. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is mainly propane and butane alone or in mixtures in liquid form under pressure. Liquid natural gas LNG fuel is produced from crude oil refining and natural gas processing. CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is natural gas stored at high pressure. Natural gas (methane) is lighter than air under normal atmospheric pressure and will typically disperse in the event of a leak. This is advantageous from a safety point of view. LPG is stored, shipped, and distributed in cylinders or tanks. While CNG and propane (LPG) come in gas bottles, propane gas bottles are much lighter compared to natural gas bottles. They are also different gases, as CNG is methane. CNG and propane have different chemical formulas: methane is CH4 and propane is C3H8.

Is LPG more expensive than natural gas?

In some situations, LPG can be cheaper than natural gas for the end users. For starters, there are daily natural gas supply charges for being connected to the main gas network. Costs can exceed $400 per year, even before any gas is used. LPG has a higher energy content and the relative positions of natural gas vs LPG change over time, with LPG now a cost-effective alternative to natural gas in many cases. The cost of using either natural gas or LPG will also depend on where you are located and how much gas you use. LPG contains more heat energy and burns slightly hotter than natural gas. LPG is a great option as an alternative fuel during the transition to renewable energy sources.

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