What is LPG?

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a mixture of propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10) hydrocarbons commonly used as a cooking and heating fuel worldwide. Although it is composed of gaseous chemicals, it can easily be stored in liquid phase under relatively small pressures (4 bar) at ambient temperature. LPG is a colourless and odourless mixture. LPG is either produced as a by-product in oil refineries or extracted from natural gas wells. Today, 50% of the global LPG production is extracted from natural gas wells.

Although being one of the major heating fuels around the world for household and industrial usages, LPG is also being used widely as a transportation fuel, a cleaner and economic alternative to gasoline and diesel. Autogas is one of the most common fuels used in automobiles. Some other examples of LPG applications as a fuel are forklifts, power generators, marine and agriculture. LPG is also used as a propellant and as a chemical feedstock for petrochemical industry.

For more information on various LPG applications, visit World LPG Association’s lpg-apps.org 

One of the trending LPG applications is using LPG as a fuel for heavy duty vehicles such as trucks, buses and tractors to cut down fuel costs around 10% and decrease significant amount of particulate matter (PM).

Heavy duty vehicles have conventionally diesel engines due to their high torque demand. Except North America where it is economically feasible to build massive (12-13 litre) petrol engines because of the country’s tradition and price gap between gasoline and diesel,  a 5 to 6 litre diesel engine is a common practice to power a truck. LPG is a spark-ignition type fuel where it is normally used in petrol engines as a substitute to gasoline. However, the practice is different when it is the case for heavy duty trucks.

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Many fuels we use in our vehicles today are blends of chemicals. The main ingredient is for sure the fuel itself whether it is gasoline (petrol) or diesel which is the main source of energy. Others are typically called additives or fuel additives. There are many additives in both gasoline and diesel for different purposes such as decreasing freezing point to prevent freezing, increasing octane number to prevent knocking, improving lubricity and cleaning combustion chamber for improved performance. The amount of additives in gasoline or diesel could be as low as a few ppm’s (parts per million) or some percentages. 

When it comes to LPG, it is not very common to hear about fuel additives but actually LPG needs some additives and there are commercially available ones.

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