Propane is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. It is part of a group of liquefied petroleum gases also known as LP Gases. Other LP Gases are butane, isobutylene, propylene, and butylene to name a few. Propane has the molecular formula C3H8. It is a gas at Standard Temperature and Pressure however can be compressed into a liquid for easy transportation. Common uses for propane would be to fuel BBQ Grills, Homes, Vehicles, Equipment, and a variety of Industrial uses. This gas is safe and very easy to use. It is readily available and very economical to purchase.
Propane was discovered many years ago, prior to the American Civil War. The French chemist and politician named Marcellin Berthelot discovered propane in 1857. He is considered to this day, to be one of the greatest chemists of all times. In 1910 Walter O. Snelling of the U.S. Bureau of Mines began working with propane and other light hydrocarbons. He is considered the father of the propane industry. In 1912 the first steel bottles to carry liquid propane were developed. It is recorded that one steel bottle could light an average home for up to three weeks at that time by the New York Times.
By 1927 LP Gases produced for household use reached 1 million gallons. By 1935 the annual use of this economical fuel source known as propane and other LP Gases had risen to an astounding 56 million gallons. Industry and America’s free enterprise system allowed for gas odorization, railroad tanker car development, and local propane and LP Gas bottle filling plants. 1945 marked the first year that 1billion gallons of LP Gas were sold. By 1947 over 60% of America homes were equipped with kitchens to use natural gas or propane for cooking. Gas was here to stay! By 2004 the annual volume of propane reached 15 billion gallons in the United States.
Where do we get Propane?
Propane is produced today as a by-product of refining petroleum, and natural gas processing. It is stored in huge salt caverns throughout North America that were developed in the 1940’s. Mont Belvieu, Texas is one of those storage depots. Together these caverns can hold over 80 million barrels of propane. The use of propane today is vast and varied. Nearly everyone you know uses propane.