The Uses of Glycol

large tanks sitting inside of a building

Introduction to Glycol

What is Glycol?

Glycol, a versatile compound, finds its way into numerous industries thanks to its unique properties. At its core, glycol is an organic compound belonging to the alcohol family. Its most common forms, ethylene glycol, and propylene glycol, are celebrated for their effectiveness in various applications. These compounds are pivotal in sectors where fluid stability, low toxicity, and efficient thermal transfer are paramount.

Types of Glycol: Ethylene and Propylene

Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are the two primary types of glycol used in industrial applications. Ethylene glycol, known for its superior heat transfer properties, is often utilized in antifreeze and coolant formulations. Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is prized for its lower toxicity, making it suitable for applications in the food and beverage industry, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Glycol in Industrial Applications

Role of Glycol in HVAC Systems

In HVAC systems, glycol serves as an efficient heat transfer fluid. Its ability to maintain consistent temperature levels ensures the optimal performance of heating and cooling systems. Whether it’s for industrial complexes or commercial buildings, glycol-based solutions enhance the energy efficiency and longevity of HVAC systems.

Use of Glycol in Dehydration Processes

Glycol is indispensable in dehydration processes, particularly in natural gas processing. It effectively removes water vapor from gas streams, preventing the formation of hydrates that can block pipelines. This application underscores the importance of glycol in maintaining the integrity and efficiency of gas transport systems.

Glycol as a Heat Transfer Fluid

As a heat transfer fluid, glycol excels in various industrial settings. Its high boiling point and low freezing point make it ideal for systems requiring stable thermal management, from refrigeration units to large-scale industrial processes.

Glycol in Anti-Freeze Formulations

Glycol’s antifreeze properties are well-known, making it a crucial component in automotive and industrial cooling systems. Its ability to lower the freezing point of water ensures that engines and machinery operate smoothly even in extreme cold conditions, preventing damage and improving reliability.

Glycol in the Oil and Gas Industry

Glycol Dehydration Units in Natural Gas Processing

Glycol dehydration units are vital in the natural gas industry. These units utilize glycol to absorb water from natural gas streams, preventing hydrate formation and ensuring the smooth flow of gas through pipelines. This process is crucial for maintaining the operational efficiency and safety of natural gas production and transport.

Benefits of Using Glycol in Oil and Gas

The use of glycol in the oil and gas industry offers numerous benefits. Glycol helps in reducing corrosion, preventing hydrate formation, and ensuring the efficient operation of drilling and production equipment. Its application extends the lifespan of equipment and minimizes downtime, contributing to more cost-effective and reliable operations.

Need a reliable partner?​

Red River specializes in the design and manufacturing of pressure vessels. We also fabricate related items such as prefabricated spools and skid packages.

Reach Out to us today and experience the Red River difference. Where American Made and American Values come together, we care more.

FAQs About Glycol Uses

What are the main differences between ethylene glycol and propylene glycol?

Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol differ primarily in toxicity and application. Ethylene glycol is more effective in heat transfer and antifreeze applications but is highly toxic and requires careful handling. Propylene glycol, while less efficient in heat transfer, is much safer and is often used in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products.

How does glycol prevent corrosion in HVAC systems?

Glycol prevents corrosion in HVAC systems by creating a protective film on the surfaces of the system’s components. This film inhibits the oxidation process that leads to rust and corrosion. Additionally, glycol solutions often contain corrosion inhibitors that further protect the system.

Can glycol be used in renewable energy systems?

Yes, glycol can be used in renewable energy systems, particularly in solar thermal and geothermal heating applications. In these systems, glycol acts as a heat transfer fluid, effectively capturing and transferring heat from the energy source to the desired location.

What is the environmental impact of glycol use?

The environmental impact of glycol depends on the type used and how it is managed. Ethylene glycol is toxic and can harm wildlife and ecosystems if not properly disposed of. Propylene glycol is considered less harmful and more environmentally friendly. Regardless, both types should be handled and disposed of according to environmental regulations to minimize impact.

How do you determine the right glycol concentration for a system?

The right glycol concentration for a system depends on several factors, including the lowest ambient temperature the system will encounter and the specific application requirements. Generally, a concentration of 30-50% glycol is used for most HVAC and antifreeze applications, but it’s important to consult with a professional to determine the optimal concentration for your specific needs.


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

Pressure Vessel line art

Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

Prefabrication line art


Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

Modular skid line art

Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


Need action? Ready to Get Started?

We are here to make it happen. Request a quote!