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Old 29-12-2020, 13:51   #1
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LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

Am preparing to get my head around the practicalities of the above, especially in Europe/the Med https://www.cruisersforum.com/images...n_rolleyes.gif. I anticipate cooking with gas, possibly running a central heating/air conditioning unit on it, and likely also both a GenSet and the dinghy outboard.

This means ensuring a plentiful supply of gas cylinders onboard. As by law and for safety reasons these must be both stored and used in the upright position and in an external and gravity drained location this probably means filling up the lazarette under the catamaran's cockpit floor with as many cylinders of various sizes as can be crowded into it.

At the same time, there seems to be a considerable range of cylinder material/design options - old-school steel versus new lighter composite designs (from at least 3 different marques), or aluminium. The former are prone to rusting and can ding your GRP but on the other hand can be exchanged (empty for full) in a great many places. In fact I have heard that many LPG dealers will not offer refills at all, or only for their preferred composite cylinder marques. Have members found accessing refills for their composite cylinders at marinas and/or filling stations tricky? Is anyone using aluminium cylinders? Is crossing borders/entering different supply networks a big practical issue?

I understand that in addition there is a plethora of different connector standards across Europe, and that is another kettle of fish altogether, but arguably one easier to mechanically solve as adaptors are readily available - it is more a matter of being prepared.

Comments and opinions from cruising members would be very welcomed by this newbie ...
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Old 29-12-2020, 14:17   #2
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

The cheap steel cylinders might not last very long before they rust and are no longer serviceable. I used one once and it was covered in rust in about 6 months. Aluminum is the standard material used on boats.

The GRP is an attractive option. At least in the US, the certifications are different, and because there are a number of GPR tanks sold that are not approved, some places will outright not fill any GRP, even it the one you have is an approved type. I don't know the situation in Europe.

You probably only need 2 tanks, as most people get a couple months from one tank, and you will likely be someplace you can refill at least every couple months.
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Old 29-12-2020, 14:19   #3
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LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

Re aware that in general refilling conventional portable containers is controlled and not commonly available ( typically at a main dealer or gas company premises ) everywhere else is based on cylinder exchange . This is a EU wide stipulation. You can still come across the odd “ rogue “ refillers

If you are mainly staying in one or two countries you can buy a local cylinder and then exchange it. The correct fittings will be needed

There are legal “ plastic “ cylinders again only accessible on an exchange basis.



Outside of that The bigger camping gaz cylinders are available everywhere , albeit they can be expensive and small capacity. The largest is 2.75kg (this is what I use ) exchanges range from about €12 to €30 depending on country

Propane is harder to source convenient to docks etc. , and cylinder sizes are often too big.
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Old 29-12-2020, 14:22   #4
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

Or maybe the 30 pound horizontal rv tanks?
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Old 29-12-2020, 14:29   #5
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LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

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Or maybe the 30 pound horizontal rv tanks?


They can’t be refilled in Europe unless installed in the RV ( the installation rules are complex enough )
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Old 29-12-2020, 15:03   #6
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

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Or maybe the 30 pound horizontal rv tanks?
I went down that rabbit hole, too - but they can only be refilled by taking the RV to an LPG filling station: not feasible with a tank on its own (illegal, and too heavy to lug around anyhow) ...
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Old 29-12-2020, 16:16   #7
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

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Originally Posted by Ifitsworthdoing View Post
cooking with gas, possibly running a central heating/air conditioning unit on it, and likely also both a GenSet and the dinghy outboard. standards across
As a long term cruiser and RV'r ... this is totally impractical so no advice offered.
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Old 30-12-2020, 10:09   #8
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

If you feel you must use LPG the only system I would contemplate is storage on an outboard shelf over the stern so that cylinders can be rapidly ditched into the ocean in the event of a fire. Obviously you would have tethers on them but you want them in the water so that they do not explode. Gas locker can leak an drains get plugged with disastrous consequences. Also in a fire the gas locker offers little protection and a fire involving a cylinder is no a survivable incident. This obviously means aluminum cylinders. As others have said Europe has many different suppliers and no standard connections so expect the have to get new cylinders for each country or even region you visit and often you can't exchange another companies cylinders. Outside Europe it's not so bad as cylinders can be refilled so worst case is you need different adapters.
If you are going to have a genset on board why not just go for all electric, on a cat a large panel array is usually practical and will supply most of your power so you just run the genny for cooking, A/C and occasionally bulk charging batteries.
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Old 30-12-2020, 10:22   #9
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

Take a look at this thread.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...pe-163207.html
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Old 30-12-2020, 11:02   #10
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

During my refit I went to propane cooking over the electric. I purchase 4 Viking fiberglass propane bottles. They are lightweight, not susceptible to heat and cold like metal tanks and of course no oxidation. They are DOT certified and came with filling certificates. I've had no problems re filling them anywhere. Couldn't be happier with them.
https://www.vikingcylinders.com
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Old 30-12-2020, 11:04   #11
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

A friend owned a Blue Flame franchise. His comment was you cannot see the corrosion on aluminum tanks. FWITW
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Old 30-12-2020, 11:13   #12
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

My boat is a Swedish Najad 440. We sailed in Europe for several years before coming back to the US. While in Europe, I used Camping Gaz R907 & R904 cylinders. I never had any trouble getting refills from Norway to Finland to the Canary Islands. Any US spec cylinder will be a headache.
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Old 30-12-2020, 12:24   #13
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

Note people need to distinguish between refills , which is an existing cylinder being reloaded with gas and a cylinder exchange

Refilling is essentially banned in the EU for portable cylinders even if occasionally you’ll find some still around
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Old 30-12-2020, 12:32   #14
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Note people need to distinguish between refills , which is an existing cylinder being reloaded with gas and a cylinder exchange

Refilling is essentially banned in the EU for portable cylinders even if occasionally you’ll find some still around
I am probably as dumb as a rock. What do they need to do with the exchange cylinders? Hydro them prior to refilling for exchange?
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Old 30-12-2020, 13:23   #15
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Re: LPG/propane - what is your preferred storage cylinder and why?

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I am probably as dumb as a rock. What do they need to do with the exchange cylinders? Hydro them prior to refilling for exchange?
the local retailers can't refill , so they keep a store of full ones and you return your empty one they are then refilled at a approved refilling site

Typically the retailers just stores the empty ones and it gets loaded onto the delivery truck and returned to the refiners site

Normally in Europe , you are not anywhere near a refilling site , so you typically buy ( exchange) at a local supermarket , hardware store , petrol filling station etc ,just as the locals do
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