Suburban Propane, Iwatani team on propane+rDME test projects

May 24, 2022 By    

Suburban Propane Partners and Iwatani Corp. of America, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Iwatani Corp., agreed to collaborate in advancing the adoption of low-carbon alternative energy solutions across multiple applications in the propane market, including propane blended with renewable dimethyl ether (propane+rDME). The companies have also agreed to collaborate on opportunities to advance investments in hydrogen infrastructure and transportation services in the U.S.

Leveraging Iwatani’s research and development laboratory in Japan, as well as each company’s respective relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers, Suburban Propane and Iwatani will work together to test and evaluate material compatibility, equipment performance and emissions profiles of residential and commercial appliances, forklifts and on-road vehicles at varying blend levels of propane+rDME.

According to Suburban Propane, the new product combines clean, versatile and abundantly available propane with the renewable, low-carbon benefits of rDME, produced by Oberon Fuels, to help create a pathway for lowering emissions to meet carbon reduction standards. Engaging with OEMs, the companies will also collaborate to accelerate the adoption of propane+rDME in the U.S. and Japan.

Suburban Propane and Iwatani will also explore investment and development opportunities to expand the distribution network for hydrogen in the U.S. Iwatani’s parent company is Japan’s only fully integrated supplier of hydrogen with the largest share of hydrogen production, distribution and hydrogen refueling stations in Japan. Leveraging its parent company’s expertise, Iwatani has embarked on a growth program to establish a vertically integrated hydrogen business in the U.S.

“We are extremely proud to partner with Iwatani to advance our mutual interests in providing solutions to help decarbonize many sectors of the economy. The collaboration of Iwatani’s market leadership in both the propane and hydrogen markets in Japan, partnered with our leadership in the U. S. propane industry and our collective commitment to innovation, we are excited to help accelerate the transition to cleaner energy alternatives,” says Michael Stivala, president and CEO of Suburban Propane, in a press release. “With our initial launch of propane+rDME in the Southern California market in April 2022, we are leading the way to decarbonizing the propane industry, and this collaboration will help drive even more aggressive carbon reduction in multiple applications. In recognition of the growing role that hydrogen will play in a sustainable energy future, we continue to identify opportunities to diversify our business and leverage our significant energy experience to support hydrogen investments in the United States.”

In March, Suburban Propane announced its purchase of a 25 percent equity stake in Independence Hydrogen, a veteran-owned and -operated developer of a hydrogen ecosystem from production to distribution that will deliver locally sourced hydrogen to local markets in the U.S. At that time, Suburban Propane also announced the creation of a new subsidiary, Suburban Renewables, as part of its long-term strategic goal of building out a renewable energy platform, and fostering solutions to support the economy-wide transition to a sustainable energy future.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at or 216-706-3748.

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