You probably already know that propane’s versatility gives you more comfort and convenience in your home. And you’re likely aware that propane is an energy-efficient and eco-friendly way to heat your home, heat your water, cook your food, power your outdoor grill and much more.
But do you know how propane is made? First, here’s a brief history lesson. Propane was identified as a volatile compound in gasoline in 1910 by chemist Walter O. Snelling. Three years later, he sold the patent to propane to Frank Philips, the founder of Philips Petroleum, for $50,000. That’s $1.3 million in today’s dollars.
Over the years, businessmen and scientists worked to make propane the viable fuel source it represents today. The process itself of making propane has evolved over the last century or so. Today, there are two primary ways propane is produced.
The majority of propane is derived from natural gas production. To stop condensation from forming in natural gas pipelines, propane is extracted from liquid compounds as the natural gas is being processed. Butane is also extracted during this process. Propane, being much denser as a liquid than as a gas, is stored and transported as a liquid in this form of production.
Propane can also be created during the process of crude oil refining. There are a lot of products that can be derived from crude oil refining, including gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, jet fuel and heating oil. And of course, propane as well. During the stabilization phase of the refining, the heavier hydrocarbons fall to the bottom. But propane, being a lighter hydrocarbon, is at the top and it’s easily extracted.
Because propane is created through the processing of natural gas and crude oil, it is a fuel that is largely a domestic product. In fact, 90 % of the American propane supply is generated right here in the United States! That abundant, right-at-home supply makes propane a reliable fuel choice for your Tennessee home, and all its potential appliances, throughout the year.
Natural gas can only get to your home through an underground pipeline. If something goes wrong with that pipeline, you can’t get any gas. Propane gas is easier to move around because it gets compressed, or squeezed, until it turns into a liquid. It is then put inside tanks and your propane supplier delivers it right to your home.
It’s similar to the air in a car tire, which gets squeezed to about two or three times normal air pressure. But the gas in a propane tank gets squeezed about 100 times more than that. This is why even a small tank can deliver a lot of propane gas.
Make propane the green clean fuel energy source for your Tennessee home or business! Contact your local propane company to explore ways to expand your use of propane.