Why is propane used as an indoor fuel?

The zamboni in the arena uses propane as a fuel and so do forklifts in factories. I assume it burns cleaner than other fuels but

  1. Why can’t I use my BBQ indoors?
  2. Isn’t carbon monoxide produced as a product of combustion when the mix of oxygen and fuel is not perfectly balanced?

Yes, but that is true of any hydrocarbon fuel, including natural gas. If you see a yellow flame, it is producing increased levels of carbon monoxide.

You could use your BBQ indoors, but the smoke (from the food that you burn on it) will make it an unpleasant and messy experience.

Propane powered fork lifts are OK in warehouses because they (the warehouses) typically contain a large volume of air in which the CO can be dispersed, they’re typically quite well ventilated, and because the fork lifts are not expected to cook chicken drumsticks and sausages.

Too bad, though. Licks chops

Propane is used for home heating and such, actually. It seems to come in as more expensive than fuel oil, but I imagine that’s a regional consideration as much as anything.

But in these situations the fumes are vented outdoors, aren’t they?

Yes they are, and if they weren’t they’d be deadly.

Ah…I knew there was something I wasn’t thinking of. I wonder if it’s just that there’s such a large volume of air in an arena or warehouse compared to the typical home (and usually an industrial-strength aeration system) that the CO disperses before it builds to enough of a concentration to actually affect people.

Correct me if I’m wrong (I very well may be), but doesn’t a properly running propane engine only produce CO[sub]2[/sub] and water?

I can see a propane grill producing CO, but it’s just burning propane in ambient air. In a combustion engine, the fuel air mixture is regulated, so there should be enough O[sub]2[/sub] to only produce CO[sub]2[/sub] and not produce CO.

(Opinion, but supported by observable facts)

I think this is prety much it. Consider the Monster Truck rallies they hold in things llike enclosed football stadiums. Some/A Whole Lot/Almost All of those beasts burn not just gasoline, but alcohol and maybe nitromethane. Yet, the thousands in the stands are not overcome by the fumes.

I think that the volume plus whatever air circulation systems they have in place takes care of the issue.

But you can chill beercans on the tank if you are using the gas fast enough :wink:


A car engine using gasoline also produces sufficient amounts of CO to kill a person if the car is run in a closed garage

Perhap’s this is the crux of my question. Propane is a pure fuel C3H8 but gasoline is a mixture. This means that it is harder to control the O2 mixture when burning gasoline and the produts of combustion are going to vary more.
Am I way off here?