The use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, a mixture of propane and butane commonly known as LPG, as motor fuel has been on a steady rise globally in the past years. And it is expected to grow even further. There is a set of reasons for this trend: for example, LPG is cheaper and easier to store and transport than petrol or diesel. Furthermore, the popularity of LPG is due to its (relative) sustainability, as it has lower CO2 emission rates than other fossil fuels.
This increased popularity, as LPG is in any case a gas, requires constant improvement and updates, in order to ensure that the cars on the road are safe, and that emissions are kept as low as possible, in a context of rapidly evolving technologies. Recently approved standard EN 589:2018 - Automotive fuels - LPG - Requirements and test methods aims at providing such a framework. The standard introduces LPG quality specifications for automotive use, ensuring a minimum quality level throughout Europe. The standard underlines that LPG (and its possible biomass-based variant) is a feasible alternative fuel.
The 2018 version is the most recent update of the standard. Compared to the previous version, EN 589:2018 presents some technical changes and clarifications. Examples are the reduction of the sulphur limit value to 30 mg/kg, an enhanced injector protection against residues and the introduction of the new consumer information label.
The importance of this update is due to the fact that lower sulphur content allows to maintain LPG’s advantage as a low price, low emission fuel. This compared to increasingly cleaner diesel fuels coming on the market. A new test method for sulphur has been developed for this purpose. In addition, the text allows countries to choose alternative odour detection methods next to the standardized one, thus lowering production cost whilst maintaining safety. As LPG is a gas, it is required to smell it distinctively in order for a leak to be detected by the consumer or the filling station operator.
EN 589:2018 has been prepared by Technical Committee CEN/TC 19 ‘Gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin’. TC 19’s Secretariat is held by NEN, the Dutch National Standardization Body.
For more information, please contact Andrea Nam.