Propane: How Do They Make It? Where Does It Come From?
A lesson about clean, green propane fuel!
If you use propane in your greater Pittsburgh home, or picked up a propane cylinder for your BBQ grill at one of our ProPane Express cylinder exchange locations, you might have wondered where exactly propane comes from.
So, we’ve put together a primer on propane for you:
What is propane?
Propane is also known as liquified petroleum gas (LPG). It was first identified right here in Pittsburgh by chemist Walter O. Snelling, who was working for the U.S. Bureau of Mines. While investigating gasoline evaporation and storage, he discovered that several evaporating gases in gasoline could be converted into liquids. Propane was the most plentiful of those gases. From there, Snelling created a method to bottle the liquid gas, and with that, helped create the propane industry altogether!
Where does my propane come from?
Close to 70 percent of the domestic propane supply is created from natural gas processing in the United States and Canada. The increase in shale gas extraction has helped in that regard. Some of our propane comes from crude oil refining.
Liquid components from the processing of natural gas — propane, butane, methane and ethane — are extracted. Once the propane production is complete, it gets sent to bulk distribution centers by pipelines, tanker ship, trains, trucks and barges. Distributors then send it to local suppliers like ProGas. We then safely and reliably deliver it to homes and businesses.
Why is propane right for my home?
With so much domestic propane production, our supply is so plentiful that the U.S. has become a net exporter of propane. That plentiful supply also means that you’ll always be able to have the propane you need, regardless of what happens in other countries or in the global oil markets.
Propane is also clean-burning, making it more energy-efficient. That saves you money on your energy bills while creating less wear on your propane appliances, giving them much longer shelf lives. You can also feel good knowing that propane creates much fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other fuels. It’s a green initiative everyone can easily get behind!