Propane & Net Zero
Clean and renewable energy like propane accelerates decarbonization.
- Decarbonization requires more cleaner energy options. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information says that large emissions reductions are achievable through a broad range of opportunities, including the use of low- or zero-carbon alternatives.
- The electric grid isn’t always the cleanest answer. Currently, propane-fueled medium- and heavy-duty vehicles provide a lower carbon footprint solution in 38 U.S. states when compared to medium- and heavy-duty EVs charged from the electrical grid.
- Propane is innovating everyday. It is, in fact, the new diesel. Six propane-related projects were part of DOE’s 2020 $139 million effort to advance innovative vehicle technologies.
- Ocean-going cargo ships need to reduce sulfur emissions by more than 80%. Propane is replacing heavy carbon fuels because it meets all current global emissions standards today.
- Propane makes ultra-efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology possible. CHP is on-site generation capable of providing reliable electricity. Unlike centralized electrical generation plants that operate at only 33% efficiency, CHP systems capture heat and achieve total system efficiencies of 60-80% for producing electricity and useful thermal energy. Some systems achieve efficiencies approaching 90%.
- The number of electric trucks on U.S. roads may grow to over 54,000 by 2025. Together, recharging those batteries would require 5.4 gigawatt-hours of electricity every night – roughly what a large coal-fired power plant puts out in a year. A blackout causing fleet chargers to switch off in the middle of the night is a scenario that no one knows how to solve.
Propane Ensures Equity
Access to clean, affordable and renewable energy like propane ensures equity on the path to zero.
- Urban and rural low-income households, especially African American and Latinx households, spend roughly three times as much of their income on energy costs as non-low-income households. In February 2021, EIA reported that electricity was 68% more expensive per million BTUs than propane.
- Energy should be affordable, so that no one has to go without, but the share of income that low-income households spent on electricity rose by 1/3 in the last decade.
- Everyone should have access to clean energy and home energy management tools, but utility programs that promote rooftop solar power, electric vehicles, and home energy storage are largely inaccessible to lowincome households.
- Emission-free renewable energy isn’t free. Net-metering gives solar customers a credit on their bill when their
rooftop panels generate excess power and the utility buys back the power. The power is paid for by other nonsolar customers, including low-income households.
- Access ensures equity, but security ensures access. Unfortunately, the grid is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks by threat actors…because the sheer size and dispersed nature of the grid presents a large attack surface.
- Electrifying everything will cost an estimated $20-$25 trillion dollars over the next 20 years.
- At least 100 pounds of materials are mined, moved and processed for every pound of battery fabricated and Amnesty International has reported on the prevalent use of child labor in mining of materials like cobalt and lithium.
With Propane, Clean Is Better
- It’s better than grid electricity – because more than 60% of energy used for electricity generation is lost in conversion and nearly 25% of grid electricity comes from coal. Propane has a great source-site ratio of 1.01, compared to 2.80 for electricity from the grid. Almost no energy is lost as it travels from tank to application.
- It’s better than natural gas – because propane is methane-free. Over a 20-year period, one ton of methane has a global warming potential that is 84 to 87 times more than CO2.
- It’s better than liquid fuels – because it vaporizes when exposed to air. It won’t harm soil, drinking water or marine ecosystems and is not reactive in the air. Versus gasoline, propane autogas-powered vehicles significantly reduce emissions: 12% less CO2, 20% less NOx, 25% fewer greenhouse gases and up to 60% less carbon monoxide. The numbers versus diesel are evenbetter, plus propane emits virtually no particulate matter (PM 2.5).
- It’s WAY better than coal – because it is low carbon. That’s why the U.S. Dept. of Energy classifies it as a clean alternative fuel.
- And it’s renewable – because it is being made today by converting plant and vegetable oils, waste greases and animal fat into fuel, all of which are MUCH better than disposal.