Industrialized Cyclist Notepad


Butane
October 13, 2013, 22:06
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Blending butane into gasoline is why gas prices fall in the fall, according to Robert Rapier. RVP = Reid vapor pressure, the higher the RVP the faster the evaporation. EPA sets limits on RVP of gasoline which are more stringent in summer months than in winter, allowing the increased blending of cheap, yet highly evaporative (word?) butane:

Butane has an RVP of 52 psi, which means pure butane is a gas at normal pressures and temperatures. But butane can be blended into gasoline, and its fractional contribution to the blend roughly determines its fractional contribution to the overall vapor pressure of the mixture. As long as the vapor pressure of the total blend does not exceed normal atmospheric pressure (again, ~14.7 psi) then butane can exist as a liquid component in a gasoline blend.

But with a vapor pressure as high as 52 psi, butane can’t make a large contribution to summer blends where the vapor pressure limit is 7.8 psi. For example, if a gasoline blend contained 10 percent butane, butane’s contribution to the vapor pressure limit is already 5.2 psi and you would still have 90 percent of the blend to go. It isn’t feasible to blend much butane into gasoline when the vapor pressure requirement is low. But when the limit increases by 5 or 7 psi, it becomes feasible to blend large quantities of butane.

Why do we care about blending butane anyway? Because it is abundant and cheap. Butane can routinely trade at a $1/gallon discount to crude oil or gasoline. Butane is a byproduct of oil refining, but is also a component of natural gas liquids (NGLs), which are condensed out during natural gas production. Given the huge expansion of natural gas production in the US, it should come as no surprise that NGL production is also on the rise.

via Why Gasoline Prices are Falling.



Livestock in fracking regions

After drilling began just over the property line of Jacki Schilke’s ranch in the northwestern corner of North Dakota, in the heart of the state’s booming Bakken Shale, cattle began limping, with swollen legs and infections. Cows quit producing milk for their calves, they lost from 60 to 80 pounds in a week and their tails mysteriously dropped off. Eventually, five animals died, according to Schilke.

Ambient air testing by a certified environmental consultant detected elevated levels of benzene, methane, chloroform, butane, propane, toluene and xylene – and well testing revealed high levels of sulfates, chromium, chloride and strontium. Schilke said she moved her herd upwind and upstream from the nearest drill pad.

via Livestock falling ill in fracking regions | Center for Investigative Reporting.

From February:

The Pennsylvania farmers I spoke with have lost cows, calves, a horse, a couple dozen chickens. Many of the animals succumb in the same way: seizure-like symptoms, gasping for breath and a quick wasting away. A Rottweiler and a Dalmatian also fell ill and died.

via http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-08/fracking-s-toll-on-pets-livestock-chills-pennsylvania-farmers-commentary.html

Gives new meaning to the term ‘tail risk.’




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