Aburi Composites’ blog is born out of wish to explore the LPG sector worldwide and create an online community to interact and keep abreast of the latest news and innovations. Nowadays the LPG industry plays an important role in economic and social development. Its highly flexible supply chain provides an energy source to support all manner of economic activity. The fact that it can be easily liquefied makes LPG a highly versatile energy alternative for numerous fuelling applications, offering furthermore significant environmental advantages, particularly in terms of indoors and outdoor air quality.
According to different sources, 2010-2012, there are 300 trillion cubic meters (10,600 trillion cubic feet) of proven world reserves of natural gas, from which most LPG is derived. Production continues to grow at an average annual rate of 2.2%, virtually assuring that there is no risk of demand outstripping supply in the foreseeable future.
LPG have more than 1000 applications and is employed across many different markets. As is a clean-burning, sustainable and efficient fuel source of energy it is use for cooking, in the agricultural, recreation, hospitality, calefaction, construction, sailing and fishing sectors, among others.
According to Exceptional Energy “LPG it is portable, can be transported, stored and used virtually anywhere in the world and there are sufficient reserves to last for many decades”.
It is increasingly used as an aerosol propellant and a refrigerant, replacing chlorofluorocarbons in an effort to reduce damage to the ozone layer. But nowadays it is also mainly used as fuel in heating appliances, cooking equipment and vehicles.
Predominantly in Europe and rural parts of many countries, LPG can provide an alternative to electricity and heating oil (kerosene). LPG is most often used where there is no access to piped natural gas.
Moreover, Liquid Petrol Gas can be used as a power source for Combined Heat and Power technologies (CHP). CHP integrates the production of usable heat and power (electricity), in one single, highly efficient process.This technology has allowed LPG to be used not just as fuel for heating and cooking, but also for de-centralised generation of electricity.
When LPG is used to fuel internal combustion engines, it is often called autogas or auto propane. In some countries, it has been used since the 1940s as a petrol alternative for spark ignition engines.
According to WLPGA, the global voice for the LPG industry, if on a hand smoke emissions and fuel consumption are reduced, on the other one hydrocarbon emissions are increased. Its advantage is that it is non-toxic, non-corrosive and free of tetraethyllead or any additives, and has a high octane rating. Furthermore, it burns more cleanly than petrol or fuel-oil and is especially free of the particulates present in the latter.
In many countries, LPG is used also for cooking. As the 2011 census of India revealed, 33.6 million (28.5%) Indian households used LPG as cooking fuel in 2011, which is supplied to their homes either in pressurised cylinders or through pipes. Furthermore, LPG is the most common cooking fuel in Brazilian urban areas too, being used in virtually all households, with the exception of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, which have a natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Poor families receive a government grant (“Vale Gás”) used exclusively for the acquisition of LPG.
Once LPG was a popular cooking fuel in Hong Kong, but because of the continued expansion of town gas to buildings, LPG usage has been reduced to less than 24% of residential units.LPG is commonly used in North America for domestic cooking and outdoor grilling. There are massive market and more is to grow in the worldwide.
LPG in Europe
Because of the natural gas and the oil-refining industry, Europe is almost self-sufficient in LPG.
The European LPG industry is characterised by a comprehensive distribution chain that can facilitate economic activity and development anywhere in Europe, even in areas beyond the reach of energy grids. The innovation and the competitiveness of this sector is supported by the dynamism of the companies.
The sector’s operators have accumulated, over a period of decades, a wealth of knowledge and experience. One of the most notable characteristics of the sector in Europe is its ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive set of technical and safety standards.
The European LPG industry’s proven experience is also reflected in its capacity for technical innovation. Notable examples include the development of new light-weight composite cylinders, constituting significant improvements in terms of safety in so far as are non-explosive, environmentally friendly, UV resistant and facility of use.
The transition to composite LPG cylinders may draw the attention of the markets worldwide, and focus on the necessity to reach higher safety standards. Indeed, the LPG cylinders blasts are frequent, especially in Asia and Africa countries, as that one reported by The Hindu occurred on 24 March that saw the death of a 35-year-old woman, or that one in Vasai reported by The Times of India, that saw six people, including an infant, injured in a LPG cylinder explosion on 12 March.
In Europe the population of LPG cylinders is big and despite there are no so many explosions as in other continents is based on technology developed 75 years ago and remains relatively unchanged. European LPG operators should be committed to continuing the pursuit of excellence through innovation and eradicate steel cylinders leading the way to the change.