Home / Blog / Engineering : A Closer Look at Propane, LPG, and SNG

In past articles we’ve discussed Distributed Power Generation or DG as it is commonly called and discussed the benefits that this process offers in terms of on-demand power and efficiency. Today let’s take a look at some of the common fuel types used to power DG and what benefits they offer in this context. Specifically we’ll consider Propane, LPG, and SNG.

Propane, LPG, and SNG Are Derived From Natural Gas Boom

It’s important to realize that propane, LPG, and SNG are all derived from natural gas or natural gas byproducts. This is beneficial because the US has a rich network of natural gas resources and in modern years the technology for extracting natural gas has come a long way, making previously unviable natural gas plays efficient and productive. Utilizing more of our domestic natural gas resources and relying less heavily on international resources in turn helps promote energy independence. The natural gas revolution has also helped lower costs for this product and its byproducts including propane, LPG, and SNG.

Natural gas and the propane, LPG, and SNG are also often considered cleaner fuel sources than traditional coal. This thus potentially helps reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates vary but it is estimated that by the year 2035 up to 80% of all gas-fired electrical generation may come from natural gas and its byproducts like propane, LPG, and SNG.

What Are Propane, LPG, and SNG?

Simply put propane, LPG, and SNG are byproducts of natural gas that have been developed for various purposes such as increasing the ease of transportation, getting more fuel efficiency from the product, or yielding other beneficial characteristics.

  • Propane – Propane is a three-carbon alkane that is in a gas state at standard pressure and temperature. However, it can be compressed into a liquid, making it more dense and thus easier and more efficient to transport.
  • LPG – LPG or Liquid Petroleum Gas is the larger category to which propane belongs. Thus propane is a type of LPG. However, there are other types of LPGs besides propane including butane, which has a different chemical formula. LPGs as a class are commonly used for a range of purposes including fuel, refrigerants, and aerosols.
  • SNG – SNG stands for Synthetic or Substitute Natural Gas and it develops as a result of the gasification process of fossil fuels.

The Benefits of Distributed Power Generation

The traditional model of electricity productions involves the use of large electrical plants where the electricity is produced all at once and then distributed over the power grid to different users and locations within a given area. However, this thus makes users highly dependent on the power grid and vulnerable to blackouts or price increases. Another major problem is the inefficiency involved in following this model. A great deal of the energy produced is lost as it traveled through the grid.

By contrast distributed power generation involves producing the energy on-demand and on-site where it will be used. This offers the following advantages:

  • Reduces loss associated with transfer of energy
  • Often less expensive than purchasing from the grid
  • Provides a more reliable energy source
  • Provides greater control over the energy and its distribution and use
  • Can be generated with different fueling options including propane, LPG, and SNG
  • Can service more remote locations

Polaris Helps Companies Implement Distributed Power Generation

Polaris has helped clients across all industries and regions benefit from the advantages of distributed power generation. We provide industry-leading engineering and consultation services and are committed to offering the best value and quality to our clients. Contact us for more information about distributed power generation and to find out if DG is right for your facility.

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