Propane is the most common kind of liquified petroleum gas, and is one of America’s most versatile and vital sources of energy. In fact, propane alone makes up a whopping four percent of our total energy needs. You might find it interesting that propane is 270 times more compact in its liquid state than as a gas. For everyone in the propane industry, whether you are a propane grill master or in charge of your business’ fleet fueling and use a propane supplier, this translates to propane being a more economical option than many of the alternatives on the market.
Breaking Down Propane Use
Propane fuel services all kinds of mechanisms, from propane stoves and burners in your kitchen all the way to heavy-duty agricultural equipment. This fuel services over 60 million people in the United States alone. Using data available from 1999, propane usage can be broken down as follows:
- 8 billion gallons for residential/commercial/recreational usage
- .4 billion gallons for internal combustion engine usage
- 9.8 billion gallons for industrial, utility, and chemical usage
- 1.4 billion gallons for other uses, among them being grain drying, flame cultivation, and other agricultural practices.
Alternative Fuel Usage
It may come as a surprise to you that propane gas is actually the number one most widely used alternative fuel type. With over 4 million vehicles across the world using propane, more than 350,000 of those vehicles are found in the U.S. That’s a pretty good chunk. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center lists the following facts about propane as an alternative fuel source.
- Propane is both a popular and safe fuel for municipal fleets all over the United States. Interestingly enough, over 80,000 bus, taxi, delivery services, and other fleets are fueled by propane alone.
- The Alternative Fuels Data Center states that there are over 4,175 public propane refueling stations. Throughout the country you can find reliable networks of licensed propane conversion centers and distributors.
- Over 300,000 forklift truck operators and other industrial vehicle operators have chosen (or their company owners have) to harness propane’s clean burning fuel properties for its economic and environmental value.
- Propane-powered vehicles give an exceptional blend of performance, durability, and driving distance.
Propane is used on over 660,000 farms for a variety of applications. Among these uses are:
- Refrigerating foods
- Water heating for dairies and stock watering tanks
- The ripening of fruit
- Crop drying – soybeans, grains, tobacco, apples, peanuts, and other crops can all be dried using equipment powered by propane
- Space heating – useful for barns, chicken coops, stock tanks, nurseries, greenhouses, etcFlame cultivation – best described as manipulating wood growth via propane gas burners
- Agricultural heavy machinery – farm engines, seeding planters, propane generators, irrigation pumps, and weeders
Propane Uses At Home
In addition to propane being a cost-effective fuel source for vehicles and farm equipment, propane is also found in many homes throughout the country. Generally speaking, the cost of powering an entire home with electricity could be twice as expensive as powering that same appliance with propane. Not too shabby. Many houses are powered by electricity which is produced via coal. This might be a palm-to-face captain obvious moment for some of our readers, but using propane is friendlier to the environment because it is a clean burning fuel. That is to say households that run on propane put less toxic pollution into the atmosphere. So if you are one of the many people utilizing this energy efficient fuel source, give yourself a pat on the back right after you give yourself a round of applause. But seriously, using clean-burning fuel helps in a measurable way.
More specifically, here are some common recreational uses of urban or suburban propane uses:
- Outdoor gas lights, mobile homes, RV appliances, propane generators, propane grills, and greenhouse heaters all are or can be powered by propane fuel.
- Gas grills are fast becoming the most popular type of grill amongst Americans.
- Tens of millions of people use propane to effectively and safely power their saunas, hot tubs, patios, and swimming pools.
The Safe Transportation Of Propane
Given the preponderance and variety of propane use across the country, it is clear that the safety of transporting a flammable resource should be one of the most important aspects in the industry, from top to bottom. Generally, pumps are utilized in order to move propane from the tank truck to the consumer-ready storage tank. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires a few different valves and accessories to be present in order to ensure the safety of the transfer of propane. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these valves.
- Pressure Release Valves – Pressure release valves open and close for the purposes of preventing too much internal pressure if any abnormal environmental conditions arise.
- Line Valves – Line valves are manually operated valves which have the function of controlling flow in or out of the system. They have a secondary use involving the isolation of piping for maintenance access. When it comes to bulk storage tanks and tanker trucks, other valves are used when out-of-the-ordinary care is required.
- Remote Shutoff Systems – All existing bobtail trucks are equipped with a radio-manipulated system which has the ability to turn off the main truck valve and the vehicle engine in the event of a leak in the system.
- Passive Shutoff Systems – These are pretty interesting. Propane transports are protected with a “passive” product of sorts that is used to stop the flow of propane automatically, should a line separation occur.
- Excess Flow Valves – Easily found on the storage tank, excess flow valves offer protection in the midst of propane transfer, or really anytime that propane is flowing. The valve automatically closes and shuts off the flow of propane if the flow is greater than the valve’s setting. This would likely happen if the piping downstream of the valve is not functioning properly.
For the purposes of aligning the the appropriately high safety standards of the propane industry, there exists a Certified Employee Training Program (CETP). This is an exhaustive training curriculum designed for complete technical coverage. The training program covers subjects which include the following:
- Propane Delivery
- Plant Operations
- Appliance Installation
- Appliance Service
- Large Equipment Connection & Service
- Basic Principles & Practices
- Distribution System Operations
- Transfer System Operations
Every year thousands of industry employees complete this training program. The program itself provides industry workers with methods of safely handling a propane emergency. We at DiSanto Propane want you to know that we are part of an industry which is accountable and safe. Remember, as part of our commitment to exceptional customer service, our 24/7 Emergency Service is available to you in the event of a propane emergency.
Discover The DiSanto Difference
What does it mean when we say we want you to discover the Disanto difference? It means you are able to work with a trusted propane supplier who understands the ebbs and flows of the industry. It means you can enjoy the year-round convenience, comfort, and security of reliable DiSanto Propane services in your home. The DiSanto difference means we are willing to work with you and develop a unique plan of action to fit your company’s individual requirements. It means when our customers ask for something, we take the time to listen. Reach out to us today and discover the DiSanto difference for yourself!