Renewable propane is quickly gaining global and national interest as a leading alternative fuel. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, potential demand for renewable propane in California alone could surpass 200 million gallons by 2030.
Renewable propane has all of the benefits of conventional propane: clean, reliable, powerful, affordable. Additionally, all of it can be made in America using easy-to-find resources that would otherwise go to landfills. Plus, its carbon intensity is five times lower than diesel.
Because it’s abundant, economical and ultra-clean, large companies such as U-Haul and governments like the Commonwealth of Virginia have already purchased millions of gallons of renewable propane for their fleets.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about renewable propane to help fleet operators understand more about what’s on the horizon.
What is renewable propane?
Renewable propane (also known as biopropane) is a non-fossil fuel produced from 100% raw, sustainable materials. It’s commonly produced from feedstock like animal fat, plants and cooking oil. It can also be a byproduct of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel production.
Renewable propane’s chemical structure and physical properties are the same as propane (C3H8), but it burns even cleaner than conventional propane.
How can renewable propane help fleet operators reduce emissions?
Renewable propane is one of the cleanest alternative fuels on the market. Its carbon intensity value is four times lower than conventional propane and five times lower than diesel. At the point of combustion, renewable propane is carbon neutral, meaning no new carbon is added to the atmosphere when renewable propane is burned.
According to the California Air Resources Board, renewable propane has an ultra-low carbon intensity — as low as 20.5g. By comparison, conventional propane has a carbon intensity of 79, which is lower than most other energy sources.
The United States EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards and the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard include renewable propane as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Is renewable propane available now?
Yes. U.S. fuel processors are making renewable propane today, and researchers and engineers are continuing to perfect the technology. The push for more clean fuel solutions has led to significant breakthroughs in renewable propane, including the use of sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel fuel and a drought- and pest-tolerant plant called camelina.
By 2050, renewable propane could meet half the world’s demand for propane, according to the World LP Gas Association.
Can renewable propane be used in my current ROUSH CleanTech propane engine?
Yes! ROUSH CleanTech’s propane autogas engines can operate on renewable propane with zero modifications. In fact, we were the first company to develop an ultra-low NOx engine for renewable propane that brings emissions to near-zero as defined by the California Air Resources Board.
Because renewable propane and conventional propane are exactly the same in chemical structure, renewable propane can be used for all the same fleet vehicle applications. This means no new infrastructure or engines are needed if your fleet is already using propane vehicles. Fleet operators also have the ability to blend conventional propane and renewable propane in the same vehicle.
How can I learn more?
The Propane Education & Research Council is committed to testing renewable propane, including blends with conventional propane, and standard development. Visit renewable propane to learn more.