Propane’s Proven Safety

The leaders at ROUSH put their 35 years of automotive heritage and trust behind their choice of propane autogas, which is a safe, reliable, and non-toxic alternative fuel. Experts have developed numerous methods to make the transport and use of propane autogas safe. In this article you will learn about the industry’s commitment to a safe product, including the development of state-of-the-art fuel tanks, creation of in-depth training materials and classes for handlers, and the funding of research concerning the inherent qualities of propane autogas.

The Fuel

  • Propane poses no harm to groundwater, surface water, or soil.
  • If propane autogas leaks, it doesn’t puddle or leave residue, but instead vaporizes and dissipates into the air.
  • Because it is released from a pressured container as a vapor, propane autogas can’t be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels.
  • Propane autogas is a nontoxic, non-carcinogenic, and non-corrosive fuel. In contrast as little as one gallon of spilled gasoline can quickly contaminate groundwater above drinking water health advisory levels.
  • Propane autogas is virtually odorless and colorless in its natural state. A commercial odorant, ethyl mercaptan, is added to propane for ready detection if it leaks from its container.
  • Propane autogas has the lowest flammability range of all alternative motor fuels. In order to ignite, the propane/air mix must contain from 2.2 percent to 9.6 percent propane vapor. If the mixture contains less than 2.2 percent gas, it is too lean to burn. If it contains more than 9.6 percent, it is too rich to burn.
  • Propane will not ignite when combined with air unless the source of ignition reaches at least 940 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, gasoline will ignite when the source of ignition reaches only 430 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Propane is 270 times more compact as a liquid than as a gas, making it safe and economical to store and transport.

The Fuel Tanks and Systems

  • Propane autogas vehicle fuel tanks are 20 times more puncture-resistant than typical gasoline or diesel tanks.
  • Propane autogas vehicle fuel tanks are constructed from carbon steel in compliance with a code developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  • All ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas tanks mounted inside the vehicle include vapor-tight enclosures around all lines and fittings to ensure that, should a leak occur, it would vent outside the vehicle, in compliance with NFPA58, section 11.9.1.3.
  • New propane cylinders are manufactured with an Overfilling Prevention Device (OPD) that shuts off the filling process when the tank reaches 80 percent of its liquid capacity. This allows for changes in fuel volume caused by temperature variations without any release of gas from the tank.
  • Propane autogas engine fuel systems are fitted with safety devices and shut-off valves that function automatically if the fuel line ruptures.
  • The tank mounting systems are designed and validated to ensure that the tank will not come dislodged even in 20g frontal impact, or 8g side or rear impact (this is twice the requirement specified in NFPA58).
  • All lines and hoses are protected to prevent damage from loose cargo which could be encountered in the vehicle interior.
  • All propane equipment and appliances are manufactured to rigorous safety standards.
  • Propane-autogas-powered vehicles and their fueling systems are designed to perform safely during both normal operations and crash situations.
  • A pressure release device installed in every tank is designed to safely release propane autogas if pressure rises in the tank beyond safe levels.
  • Propane autogas tanks are environmentally friendly and can last up to 40 years if properly maintained.

Safety Education

With regard to overall propane safety, the Propane Education & Research Council's (PERC) Safety & Training Advisory Committee leads a government-mandated mission to develop programs and projects to enhance consumer and employee safety and training on propane handling. In addition, PERC has developed a comprehensive safety-training curriculum, the Certified Employee Training Program for propane industry personnel. For more information on this residential program click here

Sources:

National Propane Gas Association

Propane Education & Research Council
 

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