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Propane Drives Canada Forward!

The Propane Advantage WORKS for you

Propane helps power businesses across Canada, providing environmentally-friendly, cost-effective energy solutions

Propane can go just about anywhere and perform numerous roles, making it an integral energy source across industry. Whether it’s powering fleets, fisheries, farms, construction projects or buildings, propane energizes Canada. 

Propane has the lowest flammability range of all alternative fuels (from 2.4% to 9.5%). The mixture of propane and oxygen must be very precise for the propane to ignite. Additionally, propane tanks are much more resistant than gasoline or diesel tanks. In fact, they are 20 times more resistant to punctures. Furthermore, they have built-in safety systems to safely dispose of propane.  

Fleet Vehicles

Clean-burning auto propane is one of the best energy choices for fleet vehicles because of its environmental and economic advantages over traditional and alternative fuels.

Businesses and government organizations of all sizes are choosing auto propane vehicles because they deliver the lowest total cost-of-ownership of any fuel without sacrificing performance. Affordable, flexible, and scalable – auto propane is helping businesses, school districts, municipalities and government agencies of all sizes reduce their costs and cut their emissions.

  • On average, the price of propane is 40% less than gasoline or diesel in Canada. In some markets it is more than 50% less.
  • Auto propane vehicles and refuelling infrastructure are more economical than electric or compressed natural gas vehicles. 
  • Maintenance costs are lower than those for gasoline and diesel.
  • The costs associated with the conversion are quickly amortized.
  • Gasoline and diesel vehicles can be converted to propane with conversion kits that can be installed in a few hours, on:
    • School and adapted buses
    • City and utility vehicles
    • Police cars
    • Taxis and transit limousines
    • Ambulances
    • Lawnmowers

They can also then be operated as a hybrid using either propane, diesel or gasoline.

Agriculture

Propane helps feed Canada

Propane helps farmers grow food while reducing their ecological footprint. Clean-burning propane is used to dry crops, warm chicken coops, sterilize milk equipment, remove weeds, irrigate crops, power tractors, and more. It’s no wonder why more farmers are making the switch to propane.

Propane helps farmers: 

  • Reduce costs: Efficient technology provides immediate savings in energy costs compared with diesel or gasoline.
  • Protect the environment: Propane is clean-burning, producing fewer emissions compared with diesel or gasoline. In open air, propane becomes a vapour that does not contaminate the soil, air or aquifers, unlike liquid fuels. This is especially important when operating in environmentally sensitive areas such as farms.
  • Access reliable energy: Propane is always working, unaffected by interruptions to the electric grid.

And unlike other energy sources that have a limited shelf life, propane can last for a very long time in storage – up to 30 years (the only limiting factor is the age of the cylinders, where propane is stored, which must be replaced after 30 years).

Cereal, dairy, greenhouse and livestock production equipment

Propane is a vital, clean, and efficient energy for grain, dairy, greenhouse and livestock production. Propane does not degrade over time and can therefore be stored for a very long time without losing its properties. No need to drain tanks or stabilize fuel from season to season. Tanks can also be connected to buildings and farm equipment, regardless of where they are located, which prove to be valuable for intensive uses that require a high consumption of BTUs.

Heating of agricultural buildings

Propane is an ideal energy source for heating farm buildings in grain and livestock production, and greenhouses to produce plants and vegetables. It allows for precise temperature control, as unit heaters or radiators can be wall-mounted or simply hung to produce instant localized heat. Portable units can also be used as a backup heat source. Convenient, economical and safe, propane heaters offer many advantages. They are:

  • Available in a wide range of heating capacities and wattages.
  • More energy efficient than central heating because they deliver heat when and where it is needed.
  • Easy to maintain and they have a longer life span than electric heating systems.
  • Generally more economical than electric systems for the same BTU output.

 

Grain dryers

More than 80% of grain dryers run on propane. The latest generation of propane dryers are highly efficient and allow very precise control of the heat produced, which ensures uniform drying and high-quality performance. They use 36% less propane compared to older systems.

With modern systems, it takes about 3,600 BTUs to extract one kilo of water. In fact, 90% of the propane extracted from the tanks is converted into energy. High efficiency drying devices are designed to optimize drying speed and yield. They are also manufactured for a long lifespan and low maintenance costs.

Propane grain dryers limit fungi and bacterial growth. Burning extremely cleanly, the dryers never contaminate grains during the drying operation. With propane’s energy efficiency, relatively low and stable price, portability, environmental safety and reliability, it is a vital and economical energy for grain drying.

Propane can also be used to dry oilseeds, sunflowers, nuts, vegetables or fruits to increase yields and reduce storage losses. Dehydration reduces moisture content without damaging food products. It helps to obtain better prices for crops that must meet certain moisture content criteria.

Propane boilers 

Boilers are used to produce hot water or steam for use in farm buildings and greenhouses. These furnaces can be used in combination with back-up systems such as air heaters or propane radiators to create heat in a precise and localized way. They are available in a wide range of thermal capacities, in buildings of various sizes, to increase heating capacity or to create back-up systems. The water temperature for heating systems can reach up to 94°C (200°F).

Propane boilers can also be used for hot water radiant floor systems. The pipes are placed in the ground under a layer of concrete, gravel, sand or earth. Heating pipes form loops covering the entire surface of the building. The water temperature can reach 40°C (104°F). The furnaces are energy-efficient appliances, with many new propane boilers having Energy Star certification and an annual energy efficiency rating of more than 90%.

Water heaters

With high energy efficiency and high thermal capacity, commercial propane water heaters can be used for building sanitation, cleaning and disinfecting equipment and many other uses where instant hot water is needed.

Propane tank water heaters are more efficient and economical to operate than their electric counterparts. They are available in a wide range of capacities to meet many hot water requirements. They are more compact and efficient than electric water heaters: a 100-gallon unit produces the same amount of hot water as a 125-gallon electric unit. Propane water heater tanks can maintain hot water temperatures up to 83°C (180°F).

Tankless water heaters produce hot water instantly as soon as a faucet is turned on and are ideal for users who want to reduce the space required for hot water production. They reduce the energy demand to maintain large quantities of hot water at the desired temperature, produce hot water on demand at the desired temperature and are not subject to service interruptions.

Irrigation pumps

Agricultural irrigation pumps with propane engines are extremely efficient and environmentally friendly. They require less maintenance because propane burns cleanly, which reduces component wear and increases engine life.

The economic advantage is also considerable since their acquisition cost is often 20% to 40% lower than that of a diesel engine of comparable power. Many North American farmers who use propane to power their irrigation pump engines estimate that they save 50% compared to diesel.

Generators 

Propane generators can provide an uninterrupted source of power for all agricultural operations, either as a primary source of power generation when access to infrastructure is problematic, or as backup generators for power outages. As a primary energy source, propane can meet the entire power generation needs of a farm of any size at a lower cost of ownership than other fuels.

Propane backup generators are perfect for preventing interruptions in the operation of electrical installations in farm buildings, wells, ventilation systems, lighting or any type of equipment requiring electrical power. They are typically installed near electrical panels and configured as stand-alone systems that automatically start up when a power outage is detected and shut down once power is restored. These systems require very little maintenance and are extremely durable.

Propane generator manufacturers offer many capacity and voltage options. Commercial generators range from 5 kW to 400 kW and can be configured for three-phase 120-, 240- and 480-volt electrical installations. Farm and greenhouse owners can choose to connect the generator only to the most vital buildings or, if desired, to the entire facility to ensure that all operations are maintained in the event of a power outage.

Trucks and vans

By using auto propane vans and cube trucks, not only can you refuel your light trucks from your existing propane facilities, but you can also realize substantial savings and reduce your CO2 emissions. Complete autonomy could be gained by refuelling propane equipment, with the return on investment quickly realized through fuel cost savings.

There are now 27 million vehicles worldwide that run on propane, four times as many as in 2000. Gasoline vehicles can be converted to propane with conversion kits that can be installed in a matter of hours. They can then be operated as a hybrid using either propane or gasoline.

 

Thermal weed control

Propane pyroweeders are gaining in popularity because they are an environmentally friendly alternative to herbicides.

They kill many types of weeds permanently. By destroying the upper part of the plants, the roots become incapable of producing new leaves. They are a great alternative to herbicide application and an excellent solution for organic farming by eliminating the need to use sprays or poisons that affect insect pollinators and reduce the amount of chemicals used in the crop.

Thermal weed control involves the use of propane-powered pyroweeders. The weeders are mounted in rows on the back of a tractor and connected to a propane tank. Thus, several rows of plants can be weeded at the same time with pyroweeders equipped with 16 rows of burners. Individual torches connected to portable tanks are also available on the market.

To use a pyroweeder, simply move the flame of the torch to where the weeds are. A mere tenth of a second of contact with the flame is enough to destroy the weeds. Walking or driving a tractor at a speed of 5 to 10 km/h is usually enough to do the job. Pyroweeders do not ignite weeds but kill them by contact with intense heat. The idea is not to burn the plant, which is counterproductive, but rather to "heat" it up and damage its tissues to weaken it. If it is a seedling, it will not have the strength to start again.

 

Commercial mowers

Propane mowers can reduce your fuel and maintenance costs, allowing you to pass on those savings to customers for a competitive edge. These mowers utilize propane-powered equipment to reduce their carbon footprint, whether you’re in the field, in the city or on the golf course!

Reduced fuel costs 

Operating propane mowers consistently costs less than operating gasoline mowers. When you’re able to spend less on greenspace management costs, you can allocate funds for other projects.

Reduced labor expenses 

Propane mowers allow your crews to spend more time doing their work, and less time refuelling. Refuelling a propane mower is as simple as switching out a tank while on the job — no gas station trips necessary. Crews can cover more ground in the same amount of time, greatly boosting efficiency.

Protection from spills and pilferage

Propane mowers operate on a closed fuel system so there is virtually no risk of fuel spillage, protecting your parks and greenspaces from damage. The secure fuel system also prevents any fuel pilferage, saving you valuable fuel dollars.

Cleaner operation 

Compared with gasoline mowers, propane equipment produces 17% fewer GHG emissions, and 19% fewer NOx emissions.

With propane-powered mowers, you can also save:

  • At least 50% per gallon of propane compared with gasoline.
  • An estimated 70% on maintenance costs compared to gasoline mowers.

Construction and Handling/Storage

Propane can go just about anywhere and perform numerous roles, making it an integral energy source across Canada. Clean, versatile, and cost-effective, propane is the energy of choice to power many construction and handling/storage applications such as lifts, aerial or elevating platforms, heaters, flashlights, generators and some types of machinery. It can also be used as fuel for trucks, vans and pickup trucks.

Heaters and radiators

Propane is the ideal energy source to temporarily or permanently heat buildings on construction sites and distribution centres. Manufacturers and equipment rental companies offer a wide range of propane heaters for multiple applications in the field. They can be used to dry out a damaged building, heat different areas on a construction site or cure concrete. Several types of units are available with different power levels. Some units can even reach 1,500,000 BTUs.

Two types of propane heaters are available on the market: 

  • Direct-fire appliances: Heat the ambient air directly (forced air heater), with high energy efficiency. These appliances are divided into two classes – those with an exposed flame burner and those with a controlled flame burner (modern and more efficient). In both cases, good ventilation is required to evacuate the combustion of gases.
  • Radiant heaters: Indirectly heat the ambient air through a chamber that in turn releases heat (radiant heating). Pipes carry the heat to the desired locations; the combustion gases remain outside or are exhausted through a pipe.

Regardless of the choice of appliance, propane provides clean, even heat without mold or contaminated fumes.

Generators

In construction and in distribution centres, access to an uninterrupted power source is critical to worker safety and the smooth operation of the job site. Propane generators, whether stationary or portable, are perfect for running electrical installations, tools, ventilation systems, electric heating, lighting, or any type of equipment requiring electrical power.

Propane generators require very little maintenance and are extremely reliable. They offer many options for capacity and voltage, from 5 kW to 175 kW, and can be configured for three-phase 120-volt and 240-volt electrical systems.

Propane can also be used in hybrid mode as a backup fuel for existing diesel generators. In this case, propane can constitute up to 40% of the fuel used. This type of system provides a great deal of flexibility while allowing you to keep your existing generator. These propane-powered generators are ideal for work sites that are located outside of major energy infrastructure areas.

Trucks and vans

Elevating work lifts, lifting platforms and tractors

Propane-powered forklifts and tractors offer multiple benefits for farms, constructors, distribution centers and grain terminals. They have been used and trusted by companies of all sizes for decades for their versatility, low acquisition and operating costs, and operational efficiency. There is a good reason why propane is the primary source of power for forklifts in Canadian warehouses and distribution centers.

They can operate indoors and outdoors with no loss of performance and virtually no downtime, as the propane tank simply needs to be changed once it's empty – an operation that takes only a few minutes. One tank can typically power a forklift for an 8-hour shift.

Clean propane engines can last up to twice as long as gasoline engines, which significantly reduces maintenance costs. Plus, unlike electric trucks, they run at 100% power without stopping and do not require long recharge cycles, which can take 6-8 hours.

Propane forklifts are less expensive to purchase and operate than electric forklifts. With an electric model, you must consider not only the purchase price, but also the cost of replacing the batteries or the cost of additional batteries to reduce downtime. The price of the batteries is a minimum of $500 and can reach up to $15,000 for high-power models. There is also the cost of installing charging stations that are wired to the building – a price of approximately $1,000 per station. In comparison, the price of forklift cylinders is about $250 for a steel cylinder. Most propane companies offer cylinder and storage cabinet rental programs for only a few dollars a month.

Propane forklifts offer better power-to-weight ratio, torque and responsiveness than electric forklifts. They can also carry heavier loads and lift heavier weights higher.

Propane forklifts offer many advantages: 

  • Low acquisition and operating costs
  • No power loss, when compared to electric carts
  • Versatility, indoor and outdoor use
  • Economic energy source
  • Superior in many ways to gasoline, diesel or electric trucks

Torches and burners

Propane torches and burners can be used for roofing work, melting tar and asphalt, repairing pavement, removing paint as well as melting snow and ice.   

Propane produces a powerful and homogeneous flame that can release very high heat almost instantaneously. The intensity of the flame can be adjusted to adapt to any type of work.  

Propane torches and burners provide for autonomy and portability. They are easy to carry and handle while being able to operate continuously for many hours. Changing a tank takes a few minutes only, allowing work to continue uninterrupted throughout the day. They can also be used as a heating element for devices such as bitumen kettles.  

Machinery

Propane can be used as an energy source for many types of machinery in construction. Contrary to some beliefs, modern machinery does not lose power when running on propane.   

Over the past 20 years, in construction and for the maintenance of hard surfaces (e.g., concrete), the use of equipment such as polishers, sanders and saws has grown tremendously because they do a better job much faster than traditional machinery.   

Modern machinery is equipped with powerful motors that run faster and make less noise. Their power generally ranges from 11 to 20 horsepower. A standard tank can power a device for 5 to 6 hours and changing a tank is done in just a few minutes without handling oil or gasoline. Polishers and grinders are available in sizes ranging from 21 to 28 inches, a considerable advantage when preparing large floor surfaces.   

Unlike electric appliances, propane sanders, polishers and grinders are not limited by the length of an electrical cord. In addition, they provide more torque, rotational speed and pressure than their battery-operated counterpart.  

There are also other types of propane-powered machinery on the market: mechanical broom sweepers, automatic scrubbers, concrete carts and even ice resurfacing machines (Zamboni).  

Navigation

Inboard Engines and Commercial Applications  

Propane can be used as fuel for commercial watercraft, from fishing boats to patrol boats and tugboats. Most of these boats can run on two types of fuel. Moreover, many existing engines can be converted to propane to significantly reduce fuel and long-term maintenance costs, without loss of power.  

As for large transport ships, propane is seen more and more as a viable and advantageous fuel since its use does not require the installation of costly infrastructures, such as bunkering facilities, and its use makes it possible to automatically meet new environmental standards. It is easy to store and easier to handle than gas sources that must be kept at very low temperatures for transport.  

Outboard Motors  

Two-stroke outboard motors are the most widely used engines on waterways. With three carbon atoms, rather than eight for gasoline, propane burns cleanly and emits practically no soot (particulate matter) and very little carbon monoxide (CO2), as well as small quantities of hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Additionally, it dissolves instantly in contact with water. In the unlikely event of a leak, propane turns into a vapour that doesn't contaminate water, unlike liquid fuels.  

The propane engines that we have seen appearing on the market in recent years have helped meet ever more stringent environmental standards. On the other hand, four-stroke engines equipped with a heated evaporator device are usually the ones that turn liquid propane into gas. These engines are popular with some boat owners because, among other things, they can use the same propane tanks they use with their barbecue grills or for other applications.   

Several benefits are linked to the use of propane as a marine fuel:  

  • It leads to better engine reliability.  
  • It reduces the operating cost of watercraft.  
  • It reduces GHG emissions.  
  • It meets the environmental requirements for navigation in freshwater.  
  • It is not a marine pollutant. 
  • It does not create environmental damage if accidentally released onto land or in water and does not create long-term problems if a small or large spill occurs.  

Safety on Board  

Specific safety rules must be applied to use propane on a boat.

Marine stoves and various appliances designed for navigation are equipped with special safety devices, such as valves that automatically cut off the propane supply when burners are accidentally turned off or electronic ignition devices.  

In Canada, as is the case with boats, these devices are required to meet the standards of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which in turn meet the standards of the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC). Boats must:  

  • Be equipped with a leak detector.  
  • Use approved components.  
  • Use pipes that supply propane continuously.  
  • Be equipped with a clean venting system.  

 Also:  

  • Tanks must be stored upright and stowed in lockers with a drain opening located above the waterline.   
  • No source of ignition must be present in the locker and all locker outlet pipes or hoses must be fitted with a through-hull to ensure that gas is not transmitted to another compartment in the event of a leak.  
  • The installation of a pressure gauge is mandatory. 

Hotels

Hotels and motels can take advantage of clean and versatile propane for:  

  • Outdoor heating and lighting, heating swimming pools and spas, and if nights get chilly, portable patio heaters are perfect to keep your guests warm while enjoying the outdoors.  
  • Backup generators to maintain service and stay sustainable during emergencies. 
  • Many essential appliances, including stoves, fridges, washers and dryers. 
  • Shuttle service: Did you know that auto propane costs 30% to 40% less than gasoline? Visit our auto propane section for more information.