Saturday, January 19, 2008

Advances in Propane Technology

The propane industry uses technology research to explore everything from improving basic appliances to improving propane powered forklifst to meet stricter emissions requirements. In 2006, the propane industry tested a combination system that uses a propane fueled hot water heater for space heating/cooling, water heating, and air distribution for manufactured housing. Exciting research in combined heat and power, distributed generation systems that use internal combustion engine fueled with propane for prime power to generate electricity while recovering heat for other uses. These systems can provide 5 KW to 800 KW of electricity for residences or businesses. Green Mountain Coffee participated in a demonstration project of a propane-fueled reciprocating engine combined heat and power system which provided continuous power to coffee roasting and packaging operations and captured thermal energy for water and space heating. Propane technology is being used in several applications by the agricultural community. The poultry industry uses propane flame sanitation to control pathogens, such as avian flu. The pathogens can not become resistant to the extreme heat of the propane flame. It offers an alternative to chemical cleaners. Propane fuel is used for steam weed control killing weeds from the outside in with superheated steam without damaging drip irrigation systems and it’s environmentally friendly. Steam weed control has been accepted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program as a recognized organic production practice. Tests completed on a propane fueled cotton defoliator offer a viable alternative. The cotton defoliator uses combusting propane to heat air to 380 degrees Fahrenheit and forces it through the cotton canopy. The air efficiently transfers heat to kill the leaves while preserving the cotton. Thermally treated cotton can be harvested 24 hours after application. It kills more leaf than chemical treatments and suppresses aphid and silverleaf whitefly populations. Propane is also used on the farm for grain drying. The propane fuels heated air drying systems. It is the fuel most often used because it is portable, easily stored and readily available in areas where natural gas is not. Most of the propane used in the U.S. is produced domestically. Natural gas produced by companies like, Western Pipeline Corporation, is refined into propane. The U.S. has the largest propane storage capacity in the world. Pipelines, processing facilities, refueling stations, distribution centers and storage facilities exist to support current and future demand. Advances in propane technology open up more uses for this clean-burning, environmentally friendly fuel. Bob Jent is the CEO of Western Pipeline Corporation specializes in identifying, acquiring and developing existing, producing reserves on behalf of its individual clients.

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