The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

What Is Propane?

Get the benefits of propane with reliable delivery from P. Gagnon & Son!

about propane maineIf you have propane in your home, you likely know that it’s a great, versatile energy source.

Beyond that, you may not know much about propane. We’re here to help with more information about it.

What is propane made of?

Propane’s full name is liquified petroleum gas (LPG). The chemical formula for propane is C₃H₈. It was first discovered by Edmund Ronalds, an English academic and industrial chemist, in 1864 while researching volatile chemicals in Pennsylvania light crude oil. The next big advancement in propane came in 1910 by American chemist Walter O. Snelling, who worked for the U.S. Bureau of Mines out of Pittsburgh. Snelling conducted research into gasoline evaporation and storage and found that certain evaporating gases could be changed into liquids. Out of all the gases, propane was most plentiful. Snelling then created a method to bottle the liquid gas, ultimately leading to the creation of the propane industry. He went on to sell the patent for propane to Frank Philips, founder of Philips Petroleum, for $50,000 three years later. That’s about $1.4 million in today’s money.

There is something in propane that does not occur naturally. Because propane has no odor on its own, an odorant, usually ethyl mercaptan, is added during processing. This odorant, the smell of which is commonly described as being like rotten eggs, is added to help make propane leaks easier to detect. If you smell that odor in your home, follow propane safety best practices and get everyone out of the house right away. Once safely away, call 911 and P. Gagnon & Son.

Where does my propane come from?

Approximately 70% of the domestic propane supply is created as a by-product of natural gas processing in the United States and Canada. The recent increase of shale gas being extracted has aided to meet this demand. Another source of our propane supply comes from crude oil refining.

Processing natural gas produces liquid components, such as propane, butane, methane, and ethane. Propane is then distributed through pipelines, tankers, ships, trains, and trucks to bulk distribution facilities. The distributors then send it to local suppliers like P. Gagnon & Son. We then provide safe and reliable propane delivery to homes and businesses in South Berwick, Ogunquit, and other communities in our service area.

Is propane good for the environment?

Propane is a clean-burning fossil fuel that was recognized as an alternative energy in both the 1990 Clean Air Act and the 1992 National Energy Policy. Propane is not a greenhouse gas because, unlike natural gas, it does not contain methane. In the rare event of a leak, propane has no detrimental impact on the air, soil, water, aquatic life, marine life, or plant life.

Today’s high-efficiency propane heating systems and other propane appliances such as water heaters have efficiency ratings of 95% or higher. That efficiency, along with propane’s cleaner burning, allows you to shrink your home’s carbon footprint without having to sacrifice one bit of comfort or convenience.

Get all the benefits of propane in your home with reliable delivery from P. Gagnon & Son. Become a customer today!