LPG has a high-energy content on a per tonne basis (in a liquid state) compared to traditional fuels and most other oil products and burns readily in the presence of air giving off a hot flame. These characteristics have made LPG a popular fuel for household and commercial heating and cooking, for industrial processes and as an alternative automotive fuel. It is also used as a feedstock in the petrochemical industry.
LPG has a number of practical and environmental advantages over other fuels. The physical properties of LPG enable significant amounts of energy to be transported easily as a liquid under moderate pressure in specially designed bottles.
This portability makes it particularly suitable for applications in remote locations that cannot economically be supplied with natural gas or electricity via a pipeline network or a grid. Its high calorific value in liquid form reduces transportation costs and makes it easier to handle than traditional fuels and coal.
For example, a 13-kilogramme cylinder provides around 180 kWh of energy; 25 kg of coal and 91 kg of wood would be needed for the same amount of energy. In use, LPG shares similar advantages as natural gas. Because it is a clean-burning fuel, it can be used in direct contact with food and fragile articles such as ceramics. The environmental benefits of switching to LPG from traditional fuels and most other fossil fuels can be considerable.
It produces virtually no Black Carbon or soot (particulate matter, PM) and, relative to most other non-renewable fuels, low emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) – the principal precursors of ozone, which produces smog.