[From ABC Member Clean Energy Renewable Fuels] When RNG is paired with an ultra-low emissions engine technology, the result is the cleanest engine commercially available today.
Environmental and sustainability initiatives are increasingly top of mind for companies and government entities, with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction central to these activities. Renewable natural gas (RNG) is the only fuel available for heavy- and medium-duty vehicles that has a clean air profile and the potential for carbon-negative emissions.
UPS just announced the largest renewable natural gas (RNG) order in U.S. history. By switching from diesel to RNG, UPS vehicles fueling at 18 company-owned and operated natural gas stations across 12 states will realize a significant reduction in GHG emissions.
The UPS fleet has driven sustainable innovation, and RNG is no exception. We’re seeing a commercial push that is driving natural gas vehicles into mass market adoption.
Natural gas vehicles are trending upward. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that in 2018 about 710 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) of natural gas were consumed and that the natural gas fueling market will grow to 1.2 billion GGE by 2025.
From trash to gas
RNG fuel is derived from organic waste sources including landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and agricultural sources. While organizations and cities will continue to reduce and refine waste streams, these sources of domestic organic waste are not going away. Creating a useful byproduct from their operations is a low-carbon solution that benefits facility owners, cities and the fleets powered by the RNG that is produced.
Depending on the waste stream and per the California Air Resources Board, the RNG emissions profile can range from a 70% to a 300% reduction, when compared to gasoline and diesel. Those are exponential figures that allow companies and governments to make a big statement and have a significant impact on their entire emissions profile.
When RNG is paired with an ultra-low emissions engine technology, the result is the cleanest engine commercially available today that delivers the same level of performance that fleet operators expect.
Solution for today’s fleets
CNG and LNG vehicles have been widely adopted across municipal, transit, refuse, national delivery and heavy-duty trucking applications. Their growing implementation and continued improvement mean that drivers, maintenance technicians and other operators are comfortable and familiar with this alternative fuel vehicle.
RNG is a drop-in fuel for CNG and LNG, therefore no added infrastructure or change in operations is required to switch. RNG is compatible with the existing natural gas infrastructure and can be injected into any pipeline in the U.S., so long as it meets gas quality specifications. Therefore, fleets that have already made the investment in CNG and LNG vehicles can benefit from the use of RNG without any additional costs.
Government support and incentives
In 2018, the RNG industry produced over 200 million GGE and it is anticipated to grow by more than 30% year over year for the foreseeable future. RNG vehicle fuel has been supported by the federal and state programs that incentivize renewable and low-carbon fuel production. With continued long-term goals in place for these programs, fleets can benefit economically from the use of RNG and realize a significant discount to conventional natural gas fuel.
RNG has been a success story to date for the alternative fuel industry. It’s a low-carbon fuel that’s poised to realize greater adoption as natural gas vehicles are tested and proven in new applications. The continued progression of a renewable fuel like RNG will result in a cleaner, quieter vehicles, and the fuel industry at large will continue to see fleets push for more innovation that can match its offer.
For more information about renewable natural gas visit Clean Energy at www.cleanenergyfuels.com.