- By: EnzGas
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A dictionary explains natural gas as :
A gas issuing from the earth’s crust through natural openings or bored wells; especially : a combustible mixture of methane and other hydrocarbons used chiefly as a fuel and raw material.
And conversely the same dictionary describes propane this way:
a heavy flammable gaseous alkane C3H8 found in crude petroleum and natural gas and used especially as fuel and in chemical synthesis
What does that actually mean to the customer, to the environmentally sensitive consumer?
Propane is a sub-component of Natural Gas. Several familiar gases make up the Natural Gas elements like methane, typically the largest percentage then ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexanes, even nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrocarbon propane, is typically separated from the other gases at a processing facility.
Then the resulting extracted propane is delivered for distribution. Another way to think about propane versus natural gas is in BTU (British Thermal Units) A BTU or British Thermal unit is a measure of the heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit, at the temperature that water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit). So to compare PROPANE and NATURAL GAS – 1 cubic foot of propane contains 2,516 BTU
however 1 cubic foot of natural gas contains only 1,030 BTU, so it is accurate to say that propane contains over twice the usable energy content per cubic foot precisely (2.44 times more).
Exactly comparing costs requires a little more math, so if Natural Gas is $15.00 per 1,000 cubic feet, therefore $15.00 will purchase 1.03 million BTUs of energy. This would be the same amount of energy contained in 11.26 gallons of propane. If the propane costs $2.50 per gallon, natural gas would be more cost effective energy solution.
Another significant difference is that they are typically delivered very differently, propane is compressed and delivered in a liquid form via small portable tanks, or delivered by truck to a large permanent storage tanks. Natural gas on the other hand remains a gas and is typically piped to homes and commercial sites. Propane brings the important highest efficiency to the combustion table – burn clean!
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