Renewable Propane: The Near-Zero Solution

Renewable propane is an important factor in the future of the transportation industry and is an integral part of our nation’s energy strategy. ROUSH CleanTech’s propane autogas engines can operate on renewable propane with no modifications. The company was the first ever to develop an ultra-low NOx engine for renewable propane that brings emission levels to near-zero as defined by California Air Resources Board. There is growing interest in this fuel due to its near-zero emission levels, reduced greenhouse gases and ability to help meet growing demand for cleaner products.

Renewable Propane Defined

Renewable propane (also known as biopropane) is a non-fossil fuel that is produced from 100% renewable raw materials. It’s commonly produced from inexpensive and abundant feedstock like animal fat, algae and cooking oil. Renewable propane has the same chemical structure and physical properties as conventional propane. Because it’s produced from renewable, raw materials, it has an even lower carbon intensity than conventional propane and is far cleaner than other energy sources.

Reaching Near-Zero Emissions

The EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards and CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard include renewable propane as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the point of combustion, renewable propane is carbon neutral. No new carbon is added to the atmosphere when renewable propane is used. Renewable propane made from raw used cooking oil has an average carbon intensity score of 30. By comparison, conventional propane has a carbon intensity of 83, diesel 95 and gasoline 96.

Growing Supply

The U.S. propane industry and its partners are committed to research and development of renewable propane to facilitate mass-market usage. Many companies in the U.S. and around the globe are developing renewable propane technology, with some production in commercial volume as a byproduct of renewable diesel plants. Worldwide production capacity of renewable propane at 15 processing plants (including three in the United States) is about 100 million gallons a year and growing, according to the World LP Gas Association. Renewable propane is already available in states that have implemented stricter low carbon standards. Several U-Haul locations in Southern California and propane suppliers along the West Coast are supplying renewable propane to commercial and school bus fleets.

The Propane Education & Research Council is committed to testing renewable propane, including blends with conventional propane, and standard development. The Council has been informing OEMs of potential engine use and creating awareness of the fuel for producer, seller, transporter and end user. Their two-minute video provides a snapshot of propane and renewable propane.