Production of Propane and LPG
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Liquefied Petroleum Gases do not occur naturally in their isolated forms. Instead they are found within deposits of petroleum and natural gas. There are then two ways in which LPGs are produced. The first is through the purification of Natural Gas, which accounts for approximately 55% of all LPG production while the second, comprising of the remaining 45% (“Just the Basics: Liquefied Petroleum Gas,” United States Department of Energy). Because of their natural existence in gaseous forms, LPGs must be placed under moderate pressure within storage containers so that they are easier to store.
When crude oil is found in the earth, it contains numerous other compounds which are then put through a refining process to produce components for useful purposes. This refining process is best described by the sequence of separation, conversion and treatment (“Petroleum Oil-Refining,” http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/non-renewable/refinery.html). The separation stage as its name suggests divides the crude oil into its many parts by insertion of the crude oil into a heating tower. Through heating the crude oil, the parts separate based on boiling point and weight. LPGs are lighter and heat up quicker, vaporizing, and therefore end up at the top of the tower. In this manner, LPGs are extracted from crude oil along with many other useful fuels like gasoline.
Natural Gas purification is also a form of Liquefied Petroleum production. When gas rigs produce gas as mixture, it contains several compounds including methane and LPGs like butane and propane (“Guide to LPG,” http://www.shellgaslpg.com/site/page/13/lang/en). Thereby, manufactures use a purification process to purify the gas so that it can be used separately without the other existing components that exist in its natural form. By purifying the gas, LPGs are also extracted and then can be used as well. In this manner the entirety of the gas can be used; both for natural gas applications and LPG uses.
LPGs are stored in their liquid form. It is transformed into the liquid state for storage purposes since they take up an exorbitant amount of space in their gaseous forms. LPGs are kept in liquid form by the application of moderate pressure within storage tanks. Through the added pressure within the fuel tank, the gas is converted into a liquid form.