In Part I, we learned about the chemical composition and reactions of butane, its formation, and the first steps of its refinement process. Let’s jump right into Part II to conclude the butane story.

The Butane Refinement Process: Part II

  1. Transporting Natural Gas
  2. After it’s extracted, on-site scrubbers remove sand and other large impurities, and heaters are set up to ensure that the gas does not form condensation, which could impede its flow through the pipelines. Unrefined natural gas is then transported thousands of miles through a network of pipelines that spans the entire United States. The gathering system transports natural gas from its place of origin to processing plants through low pressure, small pipes. Unrefined natural gas must be purified before it is allowed to travel throughout the major natural gas pipelines in the United States that provide heating and fire to homes and businesses across the country.

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An important and powerful natural gas derivative, butane is used to fuel tools from torches to soldering irons to camping stoves and portable heaters. It’s increasingly become an essential part of the modern world’s energy production and many around the globe rely on butane refills to power their daily energy consumption. With increased concern over the limited nature of many of our traditional energy sources, such as oil and natural gas, it’s more important than ever for the global community to take a close look at its energy consumption, uses, and the future of our planet’s energy environment. Learn more about how this fuel is produced and do your part as an informed citizen of the world to consume responsibly.

What is Butane?

Butane refers to one of two colorless, odorless structural isomers of the chemical compound C4H10. This hydrocarbon is known as n-butane, or “normal” butane, when the carbon atoms are linked in a straight chain and as isobutane, or methylpropane, when the carbon atoms are aligned in a branch formation.

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This past winter with its frigid, well-below-average temperatures and heavy load of snow, gave Americans the country over a taste of the increased utility bills that are to become the new standard in the United States. This year saw the largest month-to-month increase in the cost of electricity in almost four years. The price has climbed 4.4% over the course of a year. Electricity rates are rising exponentially and are increasing at a much higher rate than gas rates. Households are spending an average of $300 more a year on electricity alone. The U.S. Department of Energy predicts that electricity prices will jump another 13% by 2020.

Why Are Utilities Costs Increasing?

The cost of electricity is on the rise because of increased concerns about the effects of burning fossil fuels on the environment and their role in the inevitable future of global climate change. As a result of environmental worries, many coal plants, which are the largest source of cheap power, are being shut down. Because there is not yet a viable, cheap, or equally effective alternative to producing energy using coal, electricity prices have shot up. During this lingering economic recession where jobs are scarce and wage increases are even scarcer, people are trying to limit their usage of electricity to save a little extra every month. The result of this, though, is that the price has increased as the demand has dropped so that households may end up paying even more for less electricity used. More vigilant and strict environmental regulations have placed increased rules and demands on producers of electricity, which have caused their operating costs to increase, producing a domino effect of increased costs.

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