Is your business looking to reduce its environmental impact in 2021?

As businesses lay out goals for the upcoming year, a cleaner operation is likely a significant focus. The supply chain industry as a whole is seeing a shift toward greener business practices. This shift is driven by variety of factors including environmental concerns, consumer demands, and better air quality for workers.

When looking for areas to reduce emissions, it’s important for warehouse and facility managers to consider the equipment and energy sources used on-site every day. Fortunately, propane forklifts offer a clean, low-emissions solution to material handling professionals of all kinds.

Here are a few key benefits of propane-powered equipment, making it the right choice for businesses on the path to sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint.

Propane reduces emissions compared with other energy sources

Propane forklifts have proven to reduce emissions compared with forklifts powered by gasoline, diesel, and electricity — without sacrificing power or performance. The Propane Education & Research Council, in partnership with the Gas Technology Institute, conducted a comparative emissions analysis of targeted applications in key propane markets, including forklifts. The study analyzed full fuel-cycle energy consumption, greenhouse gas, and criteria pollutant emissions (nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide).

The study revealed that, when compared with electric forklifts, propane can reduce SOx emissions by 76 percent. Propane’s environmental edge over electric equipment may surprise a lot of material handling professionals. While it’s true that electric forklifts produce zero emissions during normal operation, it’s important not to overlook the emissions produced in the creation and transmission of electric batteries. That includes all of the emissions produced at coal-fired plants where electricity is generated, as well as the emissions during transportation to the facility. Additionally, crews operating electric equipment will need to deal with the disposal of batteries, too. When a battery goes dead, businesses can’t simply dispose of them without severely impacting the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers them a hazardous material, which means they have specific handling and disposal regulations attached.

Propane supports healthy air quality

One of the most common sources of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure in the workplace is the internal combustion engine, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That said, maintaining healthy air quality and reducing CO exposure is key to keeping crews safe.

Propane forklifts reduce the amount of harmful emissions, including CO, compared with diesel- and gasoline-powered equipment. Additionally, propane is an approved clean energy source under the Clean Air Act of 1990. Because of its clean, low-emissions operation, propane equipment is perfectly safe to operate in properly-ventilated indoor spaces

Propane is only getting cleaner

As the trend toward clean alternative energy sources continues, businesses should keep renewable propane on their radar. It’s estimated that by 2040, renewable propane will supply nearly half of our nation’s propane demand. This emerging energy source is a byproduct of the renewable diesel and jet fuel production process, which converts plant and vegetable oils, waste greases, and animal fat into energy. Renewable propane, because it’s produced from renewable, raw materials, is even cleaner than conventional propane — and far cleaner than other energy sources. Plus, its chemical structure and physical properties are the same as traditional propane, meaning that renewable propane can be used for all the same applications, including forklifts.

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