LPG, propane, butane—throwing these terms around can get confusing. They can get even more confusing when they all have different grades, purposes, and origins. Which is best for a forklift? Which ones are safe for grilling? Don’t worry, we’re here to help sort it all out.
Q: What grade LPG do I use in my forklift?
Q: What is LPG? What is propane?
A: LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas, and it is used interchangeably with “propane.” They are the same thing. With that said, LPG is an odorless, colorless gas that is usually stored as a liquid in pressurized containers. An odorous chemical (ethyl mercaptan) is added to the LPG in order to detect leaks. LPG has a high octane rating, which means that it can withstand significant pressure before igniting. That means that you get more bang for less liquid. It accounts for about 2% of total energy usage in the U.S., and as of 2009 its production was a $15 billion industry.
Q: What is LPG used for?
A: LPG can be used industrially, commercially, and domestically. 48 million American households use it to heat their homes. It can also be used for cooking and powering vehicles, like agricultural equipment or on-road vehicles.
Q: What are the benefits of LPG?
A: LPG is cleaner than gasoline or diesel, with lower carbon emissions than these competitors. It is affordable, with prices rivaling gas and diesel, and it is abundant in the U.S.
Q: What are the different grades of LPG? How do they differ?
A: Three grades of LPG are processed in the United States. All three come from crude oil or natural gas, but they have some significant differences.
• HD-5: This is the highest grade of LPG available to consumers. It is the most widely sold and distributed grade, and it is recommended for engine/vehicle use (including forklifts). It contains at least 90% propane and no more than 5% propylene by volume, with various other gases making up the rest of the mixture.
• HD-10: This LPG is a grade below HD-5, allowing up to 10% propylene in its mixture. For this reason, it is not recommended for vehicle applications, because the increased amount of propylene may gum up engines. However, it is just fine for heating or cooking.
• commercial: This grade is similar to HD-10, but it is often used industrially in refineries. It may contain butane in addition to propane, and, like HD-10, it should not be used on vehicles.
Read more about propane/LPG on our own webpage here.