Liquefied petroleum gas (also called LPG, GPL, LP Gas, or autogas) is a mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel in heating appliances and vehicles, and increasingly replacing chlorofluorocarbons as an aerosol propellant and a refrigerant to reduce damage to the ozone layer.
Varieties of LPG bought and sold include mixes that are primarily propane, mixes that are primarily butane, and the more common, mixes including both propane (60%) and butane (40%), depending on the season—in winter more propane, in summer more butane. Propylene and butylenes are usually also present in small concentration. A powerful odorant, ethanethiol, is added so that leaks can be detected easily. The international standard is EN 589.
LPG is usually derived from fossil fuel sources, being manufactured during the refining of crude oil, or extracted from oil or gas streams as they emerge from the ground.
At normal temperatures and pressures, LPG will evaporate. Because of this, LPG is supplied in pressurised steel bottles. In order to allow for thermal expansion of the contained liquid, these bottles are not filled completely; typically, they are filled to between 80% and 85% of their capacity. The ratio between the volumes of the vaporised gas and the liquefied gas varies depending on composition, pressure and temperature, but is typically around 250:1. The pressure at which LPG becomes liquid, called its vapour pressure, likewise varies depending on composition and temperature; for example, it is approximately 220 kilopascals (2.2 bar) for pure butane at 20 °C (68 °F), and approximately 2.2 megapascals (22 bar) for pure propane at 55 °C (131 °F). LPG is heavier than air, and thus will flow along floors and tend to settle in low spots, such as basements. This can cause ignition or suffocation hazards if not dealt with.
LPG is the lowest carbon emitting hydrocarbon fuel available in rural areas, emitting 19 per cent less CO2 per kWh than oil, 30 per cent less than coal and more than 50 per cent less than coal- generated electricity distributed via the grid.
LPG burns cleanly with no soot and very few sulfur emissions, posing no ground or water pollution hazards.