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CNG vs. LPG: Understanding Their Difference

CNG vs. LPG: Understanding Their Difference

Fuel sources vary in composition, purpose and process of manufacturing. Surely, you’ve heard about LPG or liquefied petroleum gas. It is one of the widely used fuel sources for cooking in households and hospitality businesses.

Another fuel source that you’ve probably heard of is CNG or compressed natural gas. It is the gaseous content that is initially extracted during the first distillation process of petroleum. CNG is popularly regarded as the “clean fuel.”

Let’s understand more about CNG and LPG by understanding their differences.

CNG vs. LPG: A Comparison

1. Gaseous vs. Liquefied

The main difference between these two gases is that CNG is natural gas in its compressed form. Essentially, it remained in its gaseous state from extraction to distribution.

LPG is processed, refined and compressed into liquefied form. So, while it was extracted as a kind of gas, it was pressurised and stored in gas bottles in a liquid state.

2. Process of Extraction

CNG involves the compression of pure methane gas under standard atmospheric pressure to less than one per cent of its volume. It is mainly obtained from the oil, methane and coal wells. In some cases, it can also be processed from natural gas wells such as liquefied natural gas or LNG.

LPG, on the other hand, uses pressurisation to liquefy the gas extracted from crude petroleum. The liquefaction is typically done at 15°C and a pressure bar of 1.7 to 7.5. Generally, it is automatically spawned from gas fields simultaneously when extracting natural gas from the reservoir.

3. Storage and Supplying

While both can be stored and supplied in containment vessels, CNG uses hard cylindrical or spherical containers at a pressure of 20 to 25 MPa or 2,900 to 3,600 psi.

LPG uses pressurised cylindrical vessels for storage which are commonly referred to as gas bottles. It is stored and distributed to consumers in these pressurised containment cylinders as well.

Storage and Supplying: Hard Cylindrical Containers vs. Pressurised Gas Bottles

4. Main Benefits

CNG entails low maintenance costs for its consumers and is known to offer high efficiency and reliability. In case of leakage or spillage, CNG is safer and more advantageous as it mixes easily and evenly with air, hence, lower cases of fire and explosions.

Comparatively, LPG is considered a clean-burning fuel that does not cause much soot on appliances. It also produces a lesser amount of carbon dioxide, and best of all, it is portable and cost-efficient.

5. Uses or Purposes

Generally, CNG is used to fuel vehicles. It is the safest, cleanest and most affordable fuel source for many gas-powered car engines. Choosing CNG can help prevent the fast accumulation of carbon dioxide in your engine while ensuring cleaner air.

LPG is more flexible in terms of usability. It can be used in many industries, including residential, commercial and industrial. Many Aussie homeowners use LPG for cooking and water heating systems.

Some manufacturing companies and energy-processing facilities also use LPG in their equipment and machinery because of its cost-efficiency and reliability. And just like CNG, you may choose to fuel up your vehicles with LPG.

6. Chemical Composition

Just like other natural gases, CNG is an odourless, tasteless and non-toxic type of gas composed of 93.05% methane, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and propane. You can also find some traces of ethane in CNG.

Conversely, LPG is considered the bi-product of crude petroleum and is composed primarily of butane and propane. Just like CNG, LPG is colourless and odourless, but many manufacturing companies add colour and stench to it as a warning sign in case of a leakage.

7. Environmental Impact

While both bottled gas options are considered clean fuel sources for various industries, CNG remains the cleanest fuel type, especially for automobile use. CNG releases less amount of greenhouse gases.

Although CNG contains methane, it easily disperses in the air leaving lesser traces of carbon footprint. In comparison, even if LPG is categorised as a clean fuel, it releases more carbon dioxide than CNG.

Since LPG is mainly composed of propane and butane, it is not very harmful to the environment as compared to other petroleum products. However, it has a higher calorific value making it heavier than air, so it disperses slowly, which may result in unwarranted fire or explosion.

Cleaner Environment with CNG and LPG

The Better Fuel Source Option

Essentially, both CNG and LPG are excellent choices for fuel sources. However, CNG is best used for vehicles. It is the better choice to minimise the accumulation of air pollution and greenhouse gases.

If you are looking for the right type of gas to fuel up your gas stove and water heating system at home, LPG is the better choice for you. It burns less carbon dioxide and is the most cost and energy-efficient for household use.

In conclusion, LPG seems to be more advantageous for almost all industries. The best thing about LPG manufacturers is that they strive to find ways to process gas from better renewable sources. They aim to provide the best fuel source that’s more reliable for every Aussie home.

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