Propane and the environment

Propane and the environment

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Propane is one of the cleaner sources of energy around. Both the Clean Air Act (1990) and the National Energy Policy Act (1992) list it as an approved clean fuel. In fact, not only is propane environmentally friendly before it is used but even when it is propane is recognized as a clean fuel.

Propane is non-toxic

Because it is so cold in its liquid form (boiling point: -44°F), the only damage propane will do to the environment if spilled in freeze the plants it touches or harm your skin if it comes into contact with it. Other than that, propane is harmless: it does not harm ecosystems, it does not pollute water, it does not pollute the air, and it is not harmful if inhaled. It is released as a gas so it does not spill or leave a residue. Basically, propane is eco-friendly and harmful only because of its temperature (very cold), not its chemical characteristics.

Propane emissions compared to other fuels

Propane is one of the better options not only for your immediate environment but also in terms of climate change and the planet as a whole. It releases less carbon dioxide per million British Thermal Units (BTU – unit used to measure a source of energy’s performance) than ethanol, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, heavy fuel oil or coal.

The only source of energy with lower greenhouse gas emissions than propane is natural gas. However, propane releases around the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as natural gas in a home’s most common appliances: water heating and space heating. Also, natural gas releases methane into the atmosphere which is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

An environmentally-efficient fuel

According to the Propane Research & Education Council (2009 study, figures for 2007) compared to its share of energy supply in the United States (2%) propane is responsible for less than its share of total greenhouse gas emissions (1%) and greenhouse gas emissions related to energy (1%).