Propane Energy......A Website Full of Science


Who Discovered Propane for Use?

Propane was first discovered by Dr. Walter O. Snelling of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910.Dr. Snelling, with Frank P. Peterson, Chester Kerr, and Arthur Kerr, created ways to liquefy LP Gases. Together, they established American Gasol Co., the first marketer of propane. Dr. Snelling produced pure propane by 1911. On March 25, 1913 his method of processing was patented to #1,056,845. By 1947, 62% of all U.S. homes had been equipped with either natural gas or propane for cooking. In 2004, the propane industries made $8-10 billion a year.

What is Propane?

Propane is an energy-rich gas that is related to petroleum and natural gas. Propane is C3H8 that has carbon and hydrogen in it. Propane is a hydrocarbon and is referred to as LP-gas. Propane is produced from both natural gas processing and crude oil refining, in roughly equal amounts. It is nontoxic, colorless, and odorless. As with natural gas, an identifying odor is added so the gas can be readily detected.

Where is Propane Found?

Propane is usually found mixed with natural gas and petroleum deposits in rocks deep underground. Later, the petroleum and natural gas from the remains of bodies long ago are taken to a factory for the propane to be separated.

How is Propane Produced?

Since about 5% of natural gas and petroleum is propane, propane can be separated from the petroleum and natural gas. Some factories separate propane from natural gas, petroleum, and other petrochemicals. 45% of the propane used are made from natural gas processing. Another 45% are from petroleum refining. The other 10% are imported as propane.