Doug Hagmann's Insider Reports





Liquefied petroleum gas

WHAT IS PROPANE ( LPG )

By Mark Smyth

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Is LPG? It Is Also Called Propane. In Asia they call it cooking gas. Same thing. 

LPG is liquefied petroleum gas commonly known as propane (C3H8), a combustible hydrocarbon based fuel. It has a very high octane rating of 105 ( R + M ) It comes from the refining of crude oil or the separation of natural gas from other gases combined with it as found in nature.  At normal pressure and temperatures above -44F Propane remains in it's gaseous form.

***NOTE At minus -40 degrees C or F, the temps match to be the same.

At lower temperatures and/or higher pressures propane will become a liquid. Propane is colorless and odorless. For safety reasons propane is required to be odorized as to indicate positively, by distinct odor, the presence of gas in air down to a concentration of not over 1/5th the lower level of flammability 0.4% in air. This is achieved by adding 1.0 lbs of ethyl mercaptan, or 1.0 lbs of thiophane, or 1.4 lbs of amyl mercaptan per 10,000 of liquefied petroleum gas.

When a car is filled with LPG, some comment that it smells like rotten eggs. It is the mercaptin you smell. There are currently three grades of propane available, HD5 for internal combustion engines, commercial propane and commercial propane butane mix for other uses.

The only grade suitable for car and truck and engines used for powerplants is the HD5 grade. This is because there is a set standard for this auto grade which protects the engines. This HD5 rating is used only in North America. Australia, Thailand, Turkey & Canada and are big users of propane. All these countries have tax programs to encourage car, truck and bus conversion to LPG.

At one time about 15 years ago, Canada had a per capita LPG fuel station rate of 10 times that of the USA. As I modify this document in late August 2007, propane in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is selling for 40% of the price of high octane gasoline. With the LPG fuel injection systems in use in Canada for the past 5 1/2 years, the fuel mileage has improved over the old tech carbs that were used in Canada for the past 40 years. An independent test with LPG fuel injection showed a 2% power increase in the same car compared to gasoline. The reason for this is all cars and trucks, all large engine ATV'S etc,have fuel injection and computers to control all the functions or operation.      

The exact composition of propane varies slightly between different parts of the country and different refineries.   

Compared to gasoline, the energy content of LPG is 74%. The advantage of propane for use in cars or trucks is it's very high octane rating of 105.

All vehicles today have engine computers that adjust the timing based on the "pinging" or "knock" as the flame front explodes in the combustion chamber. The higher the octane rating of the fuel, the less knock there will be. This is why the LPG fueled cars/trucks/buses run so great because the 105 octane inhibits ping or knock so the computer advances the engine timing. This allows better performance & mileage and overcomes the lower BTU content of propane compared to gasoline. 

Generally speaking, the latest LPG conversions get about 90 percent of the miles per gallon of the same car operating on gasoline. We find the best operation is to leave the gasoline system in place and add the LPG system. The vehicle then starts on gasoline and after 3 to 5 minutes, it switches to  propane automatically. If you drive then run out of LPG without any station around, the car automatically switches back to gasoline. Notice i use the proper word for gasoline. It is not gas, it is a liquid. Propane is a gas or vapour when it comes out of the tank. Propane is held in a very strong tank under about 125 PSI. In the tank, it is a liquid. When it is exposed to the atmosphere, it expands about 277 times becoming a gas. The very best LPG system will operate on the North Pole as the LPG is heated in a small end of the tank and then sent warm to the propane fuel injectors. This allows great operation at minus 50 degrees. Try that with diesel....lol.  You would be very lucky if the diesel engine even started at minus 30 degrees even with ether injection. Then allow about 15 minutes to warm up. 

Yuppers, biodiesel sure is great....if you can get your truck or bulldozer to start at normal cold temps at the pole while we keep on eye on the Russkies. Forget diesel. It doesn't work at the pole. Too cold. Propane burns 4 times faster than diesel. It burns so well because it is 18 percent hydrogen. It burns so clean, that your engine lasts about 3 times longer than operating on gasoline.

Anyway, if you live in the USA, you get a $3,000 tax credit for converting your car/truck/bus to run on propane. Larger GCW trucks and buses get much bigger tax credits in the USA. In Ontario, you get an instant tax grant of $750. The conversion shops will deduct the $750 off the price when you sign over the grant to them.

For a cubevan or 1 ton pickup with a 110 liter LPG tank, the cost of the best port propane conversion is $5,400.  Bigger LPG tanks such as 150 to 250 liters suitable for runs to NYC, Chicago or points south will allow you to only have to stop once at a truck stop before returning to Ontariooooo.

Prices are 47 cents per liter this week in the GTA area of Ontario. It's 3 days before labour day weekend and the gasoline prices are shooting up. Propane stays the same week after week mostly. LPG is available all along the Transgender highway in Canada. Remember it's 105 octane. OPEC does not control the price. Taliban free prices. Suck lemons Chavez. 

Most of the LPG sold in Canada is sourced here. We also supply most of the northern states as well but the prices there are about $2 per U.S. gallon which makes it a buck cheaper than gasoline. No line ups during the next run from the hurricane....lol.

Make OPEC angry, switch today. If you lease a car or truck, you file to get the sales tax back once a year until you reach the $750 max. The next buyer of your LPG car/truck/bus also gets the first $750 tax break as well. Great selling feature.

I have used  propane in commercial vehicles for 25 years. I have driven over 1 1/2 million kms on propane. I have used all the alternate fuels like biodiesel and CNG (compressed natural gas ). I drove heavy diesel  trucks cross border for 3 years.  I like propane the best of any fuel. It's taliban free.  

For a quote on any car, truck or bus propane conversion anywhere in North America, contact Mark at mark4propane@yahoo.com      
 















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