Propane is a very versatile fuel. Because of its versatility and easily transportable nature, propane is used in many applications throughout Canada and around the world. Propane is a non-toxic, colourless and odourless gas. Odourant is added at the supply source such that propane can be readily detected. Propane is stored and transported as a liquid and burned as a gas. Propane is a safe, clean and reliable energy form with abundant supply in Canada.
Canada has a surplus of propane with about 70% of annual production being exported. Propane is produced from natural gas processing and oil refining. About 85% of Canada’s propane is produced from natural gas. Over the past five years, propane supply has averaged 11.9 billion litres, with domestic consumption averaging 3.3 billion litres, and exports to the United States averaging 8.6 billion litres. A well-developed and robust infrastructure of pipelines, rail and road transport ensures secure supply to consumers and businesses throughout Canada.
Propane is a safe fuel and propane storage, handling and use are governed by stringent codes and regulations put into place by government and industry. The industry maintains a high level of safety with ongoing inspections, maintenance programs and employee training. Propane is odourless and a stench, similar to “rotten eggs”, is added such that the gas can be readily detected.
Propane & The Environment
Propane is more environmentally friendly than conventional fuels such as gasoline, diesel or fuel oil. In vehicles, propane green house gas (GHG) emissions are up to 26% less than gasoline emissions and propane emits significantly less criteria air contaminants and air toxics that negatively impact air quality and human health. Storage of propane, unlike other liquid fuels, has limited impact on water or soil as any releases dissipate to the atmosphere.
Propane when used in heating applications emits less GHG emissions than fuel oil and less particulate emissions that contribute to poor air quality. In space heating applications propane has 37% less GHG emissions than fuel oil and up to 64% less GHG emissions than electricity (United States data on a lifecycle basis–on site emissions plus upstream emissions).
Propane Uses & Applications
In addition to the backyard barbeque, propane has many uses around the home. Residential customers use propane for heating their homes and water as well as for clothes drying, cooking and pool heating. Increasingly, propane is being used in back-up generators to provide electrical power in the event of power disruptions. Propane as a gas is similar to natural gas and appliances designed for natural gas are easily adapted to utilize propane. Propane customers enjoy the same clean, modern and high efficiency appliances that urban customers use.
Propane is the fuel of choice in the manufacturing, warehousing and distribution sectors for powering forklifts. Propane is clean and offers more power and lifting capability than electric forklifts with no down time for charging.
Propane is used in the agricultural sector for crop drying and heating brooder barns. Greenhouse operations use propane as a source of heat for their temperature sensitive plants. Propane is also used to power wind generators and irrigation systems.
Customers use propane for heating their premises with radiant heaters and unit heaters. Commercial water heaters provide businesses with large quantities of hot water more quickly and efficiently than electricity. Propane is also used in restaurants for cooking and industrial processes for heat-treating of metals and alloys.
There are over 10 million vehicles worldwide using clean burning propane as a vehicle fuel. With today’s modern fuel injected technology propane provides cost savings in the order of 25% in relation to gasoline for high consumption fleet vehicles. In addition, propane offers environmental benefits with reduced GHG emissions and lower air toxics and criteria air contaminants than conventional fuels.
Uses of propane include mine air heating, aggregate drying and powering generators. Propane is also widely used in temporary heating applications during construction of residential, industrial and institutional facilities.