Running any business isn't easy. But if yours is off grid, and so not connected to mains gas, you've got an additional problem to overcome - how should you power and heat your company? Obviously, different businesses have different needs, after all, a farm is going to have very different needs to a nursing home. But even so, they have the same limited options to choose from for their energy needs. Here, we explore the benefits of commercial LPG and discuss how it can be the perfect fuel choice for your business.
Arguably, the most popular choice across the UK for most off-grid companies is Liquid Petroleum Gas, better known as LPG. We're going to take a close look at why it's liked by so many different industries so you can decide if it's the right commercial gas for you and your needs.
What is LPG?
Let's start by looking at what LPG is. Well, it's a liquidised flammable gas that's produced as a by-product of processing natural gas and refining oil. One of the reasons it is so popular is that it's a low carbon option and has a wide range of commercial uses.
LPG comes in three main forms. These are propane, butane and BioLPG. Butane is better used indoors as it's not normally good in cold weather. As such, you can use it for powering cooking appliances or for indoor heating. It's also ideal to use as a refrigerant thanks to its low boiling point - that means it is great at cooking things by reaching its boiling point, and then lowering temperatures of appliances when it goes back to its gas form.
Propane works better at lower temperatures, so it's a better choice for using outdoors. Or in locations where it can't be kept cool, which is why commercial propane gas is the ideal choice for powering tools and machinery like forklift trucks.
BioLPG is sometimes known as bio gas. This is the greenest commercial LPG heating and machine powering option of the three. It has many of the same properties as propane, but with one big difference - its renewable and sustainable, in fact it can lower your carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to other types of energy. Made using a bio gas plant process, it does all this with the same level of performance as other forms of LPG.
What are the benefits?
Using LPG has lots of advantages for any off-grid business. With environmental issues more important now than ever, it has the benefit of emitting 35% less CO2 than coal and 12% less than oil. It also gives off 90% less carbon dioxide than natural gas. Also, there is the new BioLPG that will eventually take over from traditional LPG which has even more impressive green credentials.
From a safety point of view, LPG quickly evaporates if there's a spillage, so there's no real danger to the environment and no expensive clean-up.
Depending on your business, you can bury your LPG tank so it's out of sight from customers and doesn't spoil the character of your establishment. Plus, the cost of installing an LPG tank is usually less than installing electric or oil. You can also have a large LPG bulk tank that will more than cover most needs.
As you'll see later on in this blog, LPG also has lots of applications depending on your sector.
What can LPG be used for?
We've said that LPG has a range of different uses. Let's take a closer look at these, so you can see if any or all of them are of use to you and your business needs.
LPG is great for heating if you're not on the mains gas supply. So, ideal for boilers, industrial space heaters and use in portable heaters. This kind of heating is called 'wet' as the LPG is used to heat water that then heats up radiators and also gives you hot water for use in processing, kitchens and bathrooms.
Another use for LPG which has already been touched on is for powering appliances. These can range from catering through to pumps and generators. And talking of cooking, it's ideal for commercial kitchens as LPG burns with a clean, easy to control flame that chefs love to use.
A third use for LPG is to power machinery as it can be used in combustion engines. This makes it perfect for forklift trucks. In fact, LPG is actually a cleaner, more flexible and more cost-effective fuel than electric or diesel, meaning you could be better off changing to an LPG forklift solution. LPG is used in many industries to power machinery ranging from construction through to industries using spray paint booths. It's also used in a range of agricultural uses, including drying crops and even powering tractors.
How LPG compares to other energy options:
Of course, there are other options to LPG. But, how do they compare? Well, in the case of natural gas, LPG definitely comes out on top. It's more efficient, requiring less gas to produce the same level of heat. It's also safer as it's heavier, which means that if an LPG tank springs a leak, the vapour won't spread out as quickly, giving more time to deal with it. LPG is also greener as even though it emits more CO2 when burnt, it takes a lot less energy to acquire it in the first place. On top of all this, as it's in a liquid form, LPG is easy to transport in high quantities and you can get it to places mains gas just can't reach.
The next fuel to compare LPG against is oil, which is another option for those living off-grid. Once again, LPG is the clear winner for a variety of reasons. It's also a better choice for heating and cooking as heat is instantly available and easy to control. There are reduced maintenance costs over the long term as it burns more cleanly, so there is a lower build-up of soot and ash which can cause problems. LPG is also considered more reliable when used continuously.
Is LPG right for my industry?
Obviously, we can't talk about every individual business or sector out there. But thanks to our many years of working with local companies, big and small, we're a local industrial gas supplier who's also a gas supplier for small businesses, and supply propane for farm needs too across the North. Which means we know most industries like the back of our hand.
Leisure, hospitality and caravan sites:
First up is the leisure and hospitality sector. LPG is the obvious choice, especially when it comes to commercial kitchens. Try telling your chef he has to use an electric hob and see how he reacts. LPG burns with a clearly visible blue flame which is easily controlled at the right temperature in an instant. Perfect for turning up the heat in any busy commercial kitchen.
LPG is also ideal for heating hot water for taps, baths and showers, as well as radiators, making it perfect for keeping your guests warm and comfortable. With today's high efficiency commercial boilers, you'll even use less fuel and have lower maintenance to worry about.
In the case of holiday parks, you're going to have to make sure that you're giving every caravan gas. This allows them to heat it, give warm water and use cooking appliances. Propane for caravan parks is a very popular choice where gas is piped round your park to every caravan and supplied from main LPG bulk tanks.
If you're in agriculture, you'll find that becoming an LPG farm has a number of benefits. For crop growing, LPG can be used to heat your poly tunnels as it's the clean, safe and effective choice for crop growing. All with the advantage that it helps cut crop wastage and lowers maintenance costs.
If you have a poultry farm propane can be used to heat sheds with the added advantage of minimised water vapour and CO2. Which means litter is kept dry, chick growth is improved and there's less risk of common diseases.
For property developers, LPG is the smart choice to fuel your development as it is used in the same way as natural gas. It's also an easier and more economical installation cost, as is the inclusion of LPG boilers which are basically the same as standard boilers. Plus offering the equivalent of natural gas is a great selling point for home-buyers.
For off-grid industries, LPG is great for a host of different uses. These include process heating, welding, oxy-propane cutting, heating industrial ovens, forklift gas and powering other machinery. It's also a preferred choice as it provides easy to control temperatures and gives off low levels of NOx, SOx and particle matter, making it a safer and more efficient solution.
Switching to LPG:
Whether you're new to LPG or already using it through other bulk gas suppliers, we make switching quick and hassle-free with minimal down-time. Our highly skilled team, which includes Gas Safe industrial gas engineers, will do all the paperwork for you so you can concentrate on running your business. Also, one of our Area Managers will visit your premises and plan the best place for your tank if you're having one installed for the first time, or if you're switching to us. They will check your current tank and work out the most efficient way to install your new one once the old one has been removed.
Rest assured, as independent bulk LPG suppliers, we're committed to making sure that there is little or no disruption to the running of your business, and that the process is stress-free from start to finish. Well, we do pride ourselves on giving a level of service and value that others can't match after all.