GRAY — Renewable propane was introduced in Maine Tuesday by a fuel dealer willing to take a financial hit as it tries to develop a market for the alternative fuel made from nonpetroleum feedstocks such as natural fats, vegetable oils and grease.

Waltz & Sons Propane, based in Buxton, says it’s the first dealer in Maine to sell renewable propane for residential heating. Founded in 1996 as a propane dealer, Waltz & Sons “just felt there was a need in the market” that spurred its foray into renewable propane sales, Chief Financial Officer Sue Waltz said.

The fuel can be used in all propane applications, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, powering furnaces, cooktops, water heaters and other propane appliances without requiring modifications to those devices.

Renewable propane not blended with conventional propane sells for $5 or $6 a gallon, Waltz said. Waltz & Sons sells a blended renewable propane – a mix of conventional and renewable propane – for $3.72 a gallon, she said.

“Absolutely we are,” Waltz said when asked if the company is expecting to lose money. “We want to get the word out.”

Waltz & Sons has about 4,500 customers within a 50-mile radius of the Portland area, she said.


Propane was selling at $3.09 a gallon statewide and $3.56 a gallon in southern Maine and the Portland area on Monday, according to the Governor’s Energy Office.

It could be a steep climb for renewable propane to get a foothold in Maine. Seven of 10 Maine households used petroleum products for home heating in 2022, a larger share than in any other state, according to an October 2023 update by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The primary benefit of renewable propane is its carbon intensity, or how many grams of carbon dioxide are released to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity. It can be four times lower than the carbon intensity of conventional propane, according to the Propane Education and Research Council and cited by the Department of Energy. The carbon reduction benefit depends on the feedstock used to produce the fuel.

Renewable propane is chemically identical to conventional propane gas, according to the DOE. Pollutant emissions from renewable propane are comparable to conventional propane because the fuels are chemically the same, the department said. And combusting propane to generate energy is less emissions-intensive than burning diesel and coal, but more emissions-intensive than combusting natural gas, according to the EIA. Emissions intensity refers to emissions per unit of energy generated.


Nearly all renewable propane in the U.S. is used in California, Oregon and Washington, the DOE said, citing incentives from the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and clean fuel standards offered by the other two states.

Renewable propane has mostly been used for transportation – to fuel buses and commercial vehicles – and is gaining attention, said Leslie Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the Propane Gas Association of New England. “There’s a ton of interest in the industry now,” she said, with members of her trade group establishing a renewable propane committee.

Seven of the trade group’s 175 members sell renewable propane, Anderson said.

Renewable propane production could increase as production of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel grows because renewable propane can be created as a byproduct of making those fuels, the DOE said.

An October 2022 report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said demand is rising for renewable gaseous and liquid transportation fuels due to concerns about global warming and the need to transition to a more sustainable industrial base.

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