Some regions in Belgium do not have a natural gas supply.
Consumers must then find an alternative.
Propane gas is such an alternative: it offers exactly the same benefits as natural gas. But what are the differences between propane and natural gas? Below you will find a list with 5 of the most important differences.
- Propane gas is heavier than air while natural gas is lighter
The relative density of propane gas when compared to air is 1.56. Propane gas is, therefore, heavier than air. When there is a leak, it will accumulate at the lowest points such as basements, sewer drains, etc. This means that specific measures apply to propane gas installations. They have been included in the NBN D51-006 standard for propane gas installations.
Natural gas, on the other hand, is lighter than air. The relative density when compared to air is 0.63. Consequently, natural gas will always rise when there is a leak. The standard for natural gas indoor installations is the NBN D51-003 standard.
- Propane gas is stored in a tank while natural gas is not
Propane gas is stored at the location where it is used. This is in a liquid form in a storage receptacle (a tank or bottle). This ensures that propane gas is available everywhere even when there is no natural gas network.
A storage receptacle is not required for natural gas, just a connection to the natural gas network. The product is, therefore, only available where the natural gas network is located.
- A metered installation on propane gas is possible everywhere while this is not the case with regard to natural gas
A metered installation such as multi-residential accommodation with separate gas counters for each unit is possible everywhere even when there is no natural gas network in the area. This is not the case with regard to natural gas. A metered installation is only an option when there is a natural gas network.
- The indoor installation is different
The indoor installation (pipework, user devices and accessories) starts at the exit of the service valve on the gas tank or bottle with propane gas. Part of the indoor pipework can, therefore, be outside the building. The indoor installation for natural gas starts at the exit of the gas meter.
- Gas relaxation is required with regard to propane gas while this is not the case for natural gas.
The gas pressure in the propane gas tank is approximately 6.5 bar at a temperature of 15° C. You can achieve the maximum permissible exit pressure of 1.5 bar for household installations by installing a first-stage pressure regulator (high pressure regulator) on the exit of the service valve. You mount a pressure controller immediately on the exit of the first-stage pressure regulator as an additional protection. Gas relaxation does not apply to natural gas.