Liquified Petroleum Gas


technical information

case studies

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is an increasingly popular fuel for cooking. The fuel is widely available from refineries, where it is often flared as a waste product. For decentralised use, LPG is transported and stored as a compressed liquid (hence LPG) in canisters ranging in size between 3kg and 50kg or larger. For household use, gas is conveyed via simple regulators and pipes to cookers or lamps which are specially made for LPG use.

Gas canisters and regulators are normally sold and refilled by petroleum distributors. Often, each distributor (i.e. Shell, Total, Agip) has their own type of canister and valve regulator (this means that consumers must buy gas from the same company that supplied their canister). Cookers and lamps are commonly found in household appliance shops.

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is among the most clean, versatile and modern fuels on the market. The price of gas is competitive and affordable by a wide group of consumers. It gives off lower green house gas emissions than alternatives, and use of gas is a direct off-set to deforestation. Countries with woodfuel shortages should seriously consider setting up an LPG infrastructure.


Because of a lack of distribution and canister supply, most IGAD countries have not yet developed an LPG market. Thus far, Kenya is the only IGAD country with well-developed LPG markets. However, many countries in West Africa, where wood fuel shortages are even more serious, have well-developed LPG markets.

LPG often appears more expensive than charcoal for example, but the important feature of LPG is that the efficiency of use is very much higher than charcoal. For example 50% compared to 20%.

LPG stoves can also be controlled more precisely to the power required by the user. Therefore 1kg of LPG can provide the equivalent working power of nearly 4 kg of charcoal.

Uses of technology

  • Cooking: Gas cookers come as simple one-burner units costing less than $30 to elaborate 4-burner stoves which cost several hundred dollars.
  • Lighting: Mantle lamps provide a bright, intense light without the smoke and fumes associated with kerosene.

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