Propane vs Natural Gas: Difference and Comparison

Propane and natural gas are two of the popular fuels among them, but they are not only limited to vehicles; they are also used in furnaces, appliances, and even in the home.  

In addition, propane and natural gas are tasteless and odourless, which makes them dangerous in case of leakage.

Key Takeaways

  1. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, while natural gas mainly consists of methane and is extracted directly from the ground.
  2. Propane has a higher energy content per cubic foot, resulting in greater heating efficiency than natural gas.
  3. Propane is stored and transported as a liquid in pressurized tanks, whereas natural gas is delivered to homes via pipelines in its gaseous state.

Propane vs Natural Gas 

Propane is a colourless, odourless fuel which is a saturated hydrocarbon. It is compressed and stored in liquid form inside cylinders. Natural gas is a naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbon gas consisting of methane. It is distributed through a gas pipeline.

Propane vs Natural Gas

Commercially, it is available as a major constituent of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or as liquid propane.  

It is also necessary for a range of other chemical products, such as dyes and fertilizers. As a fossil fuel, it is used for the generation of electricity. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPropaneNatural Gas
InterpretationIt is present in natural gas in the form of combustible hydrocarbon gas.It is a mixture of hydrocarbon compounds.
Energy2500 BTUs/cubic foot1030 BTUs/cubic foot
StorageGas cylinders or tanksNatural gas pipeline
Environmental ImpactEco-friendly green fuelClean burning “greenhouse gas”
CostExpensive than natural gasCheaper

What is Propane? 

Propane at a standard temperature is gas, and when compressed, it is converted into liquid. In its liquid form, it becomes easier to transport propane.

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The others include propylene, butylene, butane, butadiene, and isobutylene. Propane burns more cleanly than coal and gasoline, even if it has lower energy density.  

Organic chemicals such as propylene glycol and acetone are derived from propylene. The oxidation of propane is also of commercial interest, but oxidation with compounds of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon.  

-42.1 degrees Celsius is the boiling point of propane, and that’s why, under elevated pressure, it can be liquefied. Therefore, it is handled and transported as a liquid in tanks and cylinders.

propane

What is Natural Gas? 

Natural gas is a mixture of gas four gases that occur naturally, four of which have different molecular structures.

After the extraction of this, it is combined with crude oil and thus, it can be used in everyday energy.

America is the world’s leading producer of natural gas. According to estimation, it has at least 100 years of natural gas supply.  

Natural gas is also a clean energy source due to many reasons such as electricity generation, fertilizer making, transportation (land and sea), and usage in most of the manufacturing products. 

natural gas

Main Differences Between Propane and Natural Gas  

  1. In terms of compressibility, it is easy to convert propane into propane liquid by easily compressing it, while natural gas cannot be easily compressed to liquefy the gas.  
  2. The propane gas is stored in portable tanks, and that’s why it is easier for liquid propane to stockpile, whereas natural gas is distributed by a gas line that is directly connected to the pressurization plant of the local utility company. 
Difference Between Propane and Natural Gas
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010218004000938
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Last Updated : 06 September, 2023

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