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Renewable Propane: What Is It

propane cylinder with environmental background

Many people are familiar with renewable energy. Renewable energy is energy collected from infinite sources that naturally replenish themselves. As sustainability becomes more of a focus, renewable propane is on the horizon.

 

What is Renewable Propane? 

Renewable propane is produced by converting natural sources such as biomass, vegetable oils, animal fats and waste greases into fuel. Renewable propane does not occur naturally, it is produced. A propane molecule is three parts Carbon and eight parts Hydrogen (C3H8). In the production process of renewable propane, the carbon atoms come from the natural sources listed above. The molecular make up of this renewable fuel is identical to its conventional counterpart. Because of this, renewable propane can be used in all existing conventional propane applications. It is a drop-in fuel and has the same clean, affordable, and reliable qualities as conventional propane with the benefit of lower greenhouse gas emissions.

This new propane is helping contribute to environmental goals and energy independence through its clean use and low carbon footprint. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuel Standards and California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard consider renewable propane as a way to reduce greenhouse gases. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is a set of programs in California that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the carbon intensity of California’s transformation fuel pool. Because renewable propane is carbon neutral at the point of combustion, there is no new carbon added to the atmosphere when it is burned. This new propane leaves an ultra-low carbon footprint having a carbon intensity, or amount of carbon content in a burning fuel, as low as 19 compared to electricity at 40.

 

The Propane Industry’s Pledge – All Renewable by 2030

Due to this fuel’s abundantly clean nature and the necessity to cut carbon emissions, the Western Propane Gas Association as pledged to become 100% renewable by the year 2030. Such an ambitious goal is already starting to take shape. Renewable propane production is currently happening in California. Global Clean Energy Holdings recently converted a former crude oil refinery in Bakersfield, CA to a renewable fuels production facility.

 

Taking Action at the Capitol

AB 1559, the Innovative Renewable Energy for Buildings Act was introduced in 2021. This Bill would require the CEC to establish funding for the production of renewable energy in the forms of renewable propane, renewable hydrogen, and renewable dimethyl ether. Once produced, these forms of renewable energy would then be used specifically in the building sector. Not only was this Bill supported by the Western Propane Gas Association, it was also sponsored by the California Association of Realtors. Approximately 600,000 households in California are not connected to the electric grid and rely on energy sources like propane. Had this Bill moved forward it would have continued to allow for energy independence and resiliency for Californians. Unfortunately, as of January 2022, the Innovative Renewable Energy for Buildings Act was no longer up for consideration.

This setback will not deter the propane industry’s fight to commercialize the production of renewable propane though. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the Federal level offers immense funding for clean energy solutions like renewable propane. It offers over $6 billion dollars’ worth of funding that can be used for propane infrastructure, propane powered school buses, and propane powered transit vehicles. Delta Liquid Energy and the propane industry will continue to advocate for renewable propane as a clean fuel now and for the future by assisting consumers in acquiring these funds for the purpose of purchasing propane vehicles and infrastructure. Continued participation on panels, coalitions with other clean energy associations, and talks with law makers, California homeowners, and clean air activists will be a focus in the years to come to ensure an understanding of the importance of renewable propane in the marketplace.

 

Why Should Consumers Consider Renewable Propane for Their Homes and Businesses?

Our electric grid in California is already at maximum capacity. Our state already imports 30% of our electricity from outside sources. We intend on decommissioning all nuclear power plants in the state – the equivalent of 16% of our current electricity production. Wind and solar cannot come online fast enough. In some areas of California, the cost of running a home solely on electricity is up to 11% more expensive than incorporating a mixed fuel approach. These as just a few of the reasons that an all-electric future is dangerous. There is not a single energy solution, we need many different types of clean energy to keep the lights on in California. While renewable propane is not yet available for every Californian, it can be with the help of many voices expressing a need for reliable, affordable energy.

 

renewable propane

Sources:

Use California Propane

Propane Education & Research Council

Roush Clean Tech

Renewable 360 Webinar: Delivering Resiliency and Building Decarbonization with Renewable Propane

Power On California

 

To learn more about propane’s effect on the environment, visit our blog post How Propane Fits Into the Green Equation- A Look At Propane’s Environmental Impact

Click here for a printable: Propane Press Winter 2021