Energy Density of Propane

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HyWeb: Knowledge-Hydrogen in the Energy Sector Chapter 2. Dr. Werner Zittel, Reinhold Wurster, Lidwg-Bolkow-Systemtechnik.
Energy Carrier Form of Storage Energy Density by weight
(kWh/kg)
Energy Density by volume
(kWh/l)
LPG (Propane) Liquid 12.9 7.5
2.7 × 104 MJ/m3
List of common conversion factors (Engineering conversion factors)-IOR Energy Pty Ltd. Aurthur Nommensen.
    MJ/litre Litre/Tonne GJ/tol
LPG Propane 25.3 1960 48.6
2.53 × 104 MJ/m3
Propane-Air Standby Systems: Gas Energy Uninterrupted. January 18, 2001, Steve Ruffcurn P.E. "Propane contains about 2,520 Btu/scf compared to natural gas with about 1000 Btu/scf. Liquified propane (at 60 degrees) contains a little more thab 92,000 Btu per gallon. Thus, 11 gallons of propane contains about 1 mmBtu (or 1 deaktherm) or about as much energy as 1 Mcf of natural gas. While natural gas is difficult to store at a consumer site, propane's energy density makes storage resonably simple" 2.13 × 104 MJ/m3
Overview of Storage Development DOE Hydrogen Program. May 9-11 2000, George Thomas.
Fuel Liquid volumetric energy density (MJ/liter)
Propane 22.8
2.28 × 104 MJ/m3

Propane is a heavy, colorless, flammable gas. Its chemical formula is C3H8. It is the third member of the alkane series of hydrocarbons. It is used mainly as fuel in homes and industries. For use as a fuel, propane is liquefied under pressure and sold in tanks. In 1999, 19.6 billion gallons of propane was consumed in the US, about 8 billion usef for residential/commerical/recreational usage, mainly used due to the fact that it is protable and clean-burning. Consumers use propane for heating and cooling homes and water. They use it for cooking, refrigeration, drying clothes and other miscellaneous tasks. In addition, about 4 million vechicles run on propane.

The main advantage for using propane as fuel is that it has low pollution characteristics and its relatively high energy density when compared to other clean burning alternative fuels and is generally less costly. Energy density is defined as joules per cubic meter or joules per kilogram. In another words, it is the amount of energy per volume, or the amount of energy oer mass. There are also disadvantages to the use of this fuel. Propane can explode in a confined environment. While the convenienve of storing natural gas is difficult, due to propane's high energy density, storage of it is relatively simple.

Eric Leung -- 2002


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