What Is Propane Made Of?

An Explanation of Where Propane Comes From and How It’s Made

what is propane pennsylvania Throughout the winter season, our customers in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania’s Tri-state area really appreciate seeing our propane delivery trucks pull up to their homes. After all, many residents count on propane to warm their homes, heat their water, cook their food and for many other crucial household needs!

But have you ever stopped to wonder what propane is and what it’s made of?

What Is Propane Gas?

Propane is a co-product of natural gas extraction and crude oil refining. Here’s how each of these two processes can yield propane:

  • Most propane comes from natural gas production. When natural gas comes out of the ground, other products come with it, including ethane, butane, isobutane and pentane. But propane is the largest co-product. To prevent condensation from building up in natural gas pipelines, propane is separated from liquid compounds during the extraction process.
  • The oil refining process produces propane as a byproduct, particularly in the stabilization phase. Heavier hydrocarbons settle at the bottom, while lighter ones, such as propane, rise to the surface and can be conveniently removed.

Propane is a predominately American-made fuel, with roughly 90 percent of the propane you use coming right from the U.S. Propane is also an in-demand American export, as we export more than we use domestically.

How Is Propane Different from Natural Gas?

Propane is denser than natural gas. So, natural gas must be delivered to your home via a utility pipe system. If you don’t live within reach of a gas utility, you’re likely out of luck. Further, if there’s a rupture or leak in your utility’s pipelines, your home won’t get the fuel it needs.

Propane fuel is easier to transport because of its ability to be compressed into a liquid state, making it easier to store and move in delivery trucks, train cars and propane tanks. Your propane supplier delivers it right to your doorstep! And you can compress a lot of propane into a relatively small container.

Is All Propane Made from Petroleum Products?

No. The propane industry has developed an even more eco-friendly product—renewable propane!

Renewable propane isn’t in widespread use yet, but you can expect to see it soon fueling homes, businesses, worksites, and vehicle fleets, too. It is molecularly identical to conventional propane, so it can be stored in the same tanks and used in the same equipment. But unlike conventional propane, renewable propane is made from some of the same organic and recycled materials used to make biofuel, including:

  • Animal oils
  • Vegetable oil
  • Biomass
  • Plant matter, including corn, switchgrass and camelina sativa

These feedstocks are readily available, and the renewable propane production process has a low carbon intensity (CI). According to a study from Propane Education & Research Council, the resulting fuel has less than half the CI of conventional propane and about 22 percent the CI of grid electricity!

For the most reliable propane delivery in central Delmarva and Eastern Pennsylvania, join the family of Poore’s Propane and Oil customers. We’re ready to meet your home comfort needs!