Using Propane to Power a Private Island

January 11, 2022 –

Propane vs. electricity is a common energy source debate.

Proponents of electricity tend to like it because it produces no emissions. But when you look at the big picture, that’s not true.

The process of transporting electricity, as well as the amount of energy it requires to do the same job as propane, produces more carbon emissions overall.

So some people who live off the grid prefer to create their own electricity rather than be subject to the cost and environmental impact of having it reach all the way to their home.

For Bo Malpass, that’s where propane comes in.

Malpass is the owner of Warrington Homes, a design and custom home building firm in Connecticut. He’s also the owner of his own home on a private island — which he uniquely powers with propane, in collaboration with Thuesen Mechanical Corp.

To refill Malpass’s propane supply, the Paraco team routinely drives out to the dock near his island, carefully drives one of our bobtail propane trucks onto a ferry, and heads over the island to provide Malpass with the fuel he needs to power the entire household.

“The whole idea of burning propane to create electricity almost sounds counterintuitive,” says Malpass. “But it’s actually really efficient.

You use all the spoils of burning propane to heat the pool, heat the house, etc. It’s almost like that’s free energy if we burn at such a rate that we’re going to be selling back to the grid. We’re actually off the grid, selling back to the grid.”

Malpass refers to a practice that many people get to engage in when they use renewable energy or alternative fuels like propane. When your fuel source creates more energy than your household needs, you’re in a position to sell that surplus energy to your state and utility company. You may also be eligible for clean energy incentives that put money back in your pocket.

Malpass uses a co-gen, or cogenerator, to use propane to create electricity as well as home heat.

“You burn propane to generate electricity to run everything,” says Malpass. “You’re running the whole house, all the lights, all of the air conditioning units. All of that off of the electricity you’re creating on the island by burning propane.”

Malpass explains, “It’s efficient enough because of the high efficiency of propane.”

You don’t have to live on an island to benefit from using a similar system. If you’re building a home or any building, talk to your contractor about using a cogenerator system.

Not only will you be reducing carbon emissions, but you’ll also be increasing your savings over time.

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