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Gas bottles, Aluminium or steel

John Edward

Gas bottles, Aluminium or steel  

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We live in Spain and usually spend 3 months touring the UK and Ireland during the summer period.

I bought 2 butane lightweight silver aluminium gas bottles to take in the motorhome, because they were lightweight, and because the wife wants to take crates of Rioja to the UK to distribute amongst family and friends.

However, I'm concerned about the safety of these gas bottles in the event of a collision.

I would prefer to take 2 orange steel gas bottles with me which would be less likely to puncture in a collision but which are considerably heavier.

Am I being ultra cautious or is there a safety issue?

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I think you will find the silver bottles here in Spain are in fact a stainless steel alloy of some sort and not aluminium .Everybody calls them ally bottles because of there colour. They must be of a good spec or they wouldn't allow them for domestic use. If you are not comfortable with the silver bottle get the new Cepsa butano grey steel ones with the red carry handle ...see pic





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According to the CEPSA website, the two designs of butane bottle shown in Brian's photo are both manufactured from "stainless steel and high-strength special steel", are the same empty weight (about half that of the traditional metal canister) and carry the same 12.5kg of LPG. On that basis, it's logical to assume that both designs will have a similar resistance to puncturing in the event of an accident.


Regarding your original question "Am I being ultra cautious or is there a safety issue?", I'd say "You are being ultra cautious".


I doubt if the CEPSA lightweight bottles are any less resistant to accident damage than Calor's "Calor Lite" 6kg propane lightweight steel container or the aluminium "Alugas" canisters that are available in the UK, and the CEPSA products will definitely be more puncture-resistant than BP's "Gas Light" and Safefill's composite gas bottles that are carried by plenty of UK leisure-vehicle owners.


Theoretically, a traditional 'heavy' metal canister, made with empty-weight not a priority, MIGHT be more resistant to puncture in an accident as a result of the thicker gauge of metal used. But you should ask yourself what the likelihood is of you being involved in an accident where your gas bottle receives the equivalent of a blow from a pick-axe.


I've carried a user-refillable composite gas-bottle in my motorhomes for years and, although I've always been aware that I could easily puncture the container if I so chose, I can't say I've ever been worried by the possibility of this happening as a result of a motoring accident. I'm certain bottle-puncturing COULD happen, but so could the driver of a 40-tonne truck have a heart attack causing the vehicle to smash through a motorway's central reservation and kill me in a head-on collision as I'm cruising along on the other carriageway. If I started to worry about things like that, it would be time for me to stop driving.


If the choice is between swapping your lightweight CEPSA bottles for heavier orange Repsol canisters because the latter MIGHT be more accident resistant, or staying with the lighter bottles that will allow your wife to bring more wine to the UK, I'd opt for Choice 2. I'd much rather risk the tiny possibility of a lightweight steel gas bottle being damaged in an accident than risk the consequences of not complying with my wife's wishes.


(If the difference in empty-weight of your two lightweight CEPSA bottles and of two heavier traditional bottles is such that it will inhibit how much wine your wife can bring to the UK, you should perhaps be thinking about how heavily your motorhome is being loaded, rather than about 'bottle strength'. While a thick-gauge steel gas-bottle may be more accident resistant than a thin-gauge one, a very heavily loaded (or over-loaded) motorhome will, in principle, be more likely to be involved in a motoring accident than if it were less heavily loaded.)

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