The facts about Renewable Natural Gas
What is Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)?
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is natural gas made from renewable sources, and is not fossil fuel. Because of the statewide push for cleaner air and the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases, hundreds of industries have responded by developing clean-air RNG protocols. By November 2018, 90% of all natural gas vehicle fuel used in California will be Renewable Natural Gas.
What is RNG used for?
RNG is quickly replacing traditional fossil fuel-based natural gas and diesel fuel in California. RNG is being used to fuel heavy-duty trucks, buses and fleet vehicles in California in order to dramatically reduce carbon, cut tailpipe emissions and reduce particulate matter to keep our air clean. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has found that low-NOx trucks are "the most valuable approach" to meeting California's mid- and long-term goals to attain NAAQS for NOx and PM2.5. CARB has noted that it is technically and economically feasible to deploy approximately 400,000 near-zero emission heavy-duty vehicles by 2030, and this large-scale deployment of low-NOx trucks will provide the largest health benefit of any single new strategy under consideration by California. Source: CARB and Game Changer Report: Gladstein, Neandorss & Associates
Does RNG come from fracking?
No. Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is not a fossil fuel and there is no drilling or fracking involved in its production. In fact, the production of RNG is so environmentally beneficial that the California Air Resources Board rates it as the lowest carbon intensity fuel in California.
Where does RNG come from?
There are thousands of sources of RNG throughout California and virtually every Californian participates in the production of RNG. Unlike traditional natural gas which comes from below-ground oil and gas sources, Renewable Natural Gas (as its name suggests) comes only from renewable sources.
Some of the major sources of RNG include:
• Food waste from grocery stores that recycle their unused and unsalable food
• Dairies that put their cow manure into nearby dairy digesters
• Public landfills that capture natural gases before they can reach the air
• Wastewater treatment facilities that capture natural gases before they can reach the air
How clean is RNG?
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) is one of the cleanest fuels being used in California today. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Carbon Intensity Value of RNG can reach as low as -300. Not only is that the lowest Carbon Intensity of all fuels tracked by CARB, including hydrogen and electricity, but it's the ONLY fuel to reach a below-zero carbon intensity level. That means that RNG is not only clean when being used in vehicles, but the fact that that natural gas is being sequestered and used for fuel is keeping it out of our atmosphere and keeping our air cleaner. Source:
Who is using RNG in California?
Although everyone in California reaps the benefits from RNG through cleaner air, RNG is used primarily in the heavy-duty transportation sectors. Semi-trucks are using RNG not only to cut costs, but to meet California's environmental standards. Those RNG trucks are 10 times cleaner than their diesel counterparts, have the smallest carbon footprint of any motorized vehicle, and provide a 90% reduction in particulate matter. Most major public transit agencies in California use RNG clean-air buses. In addition to environmental benefits, RNG buses are dependable and affordable. Companies that have fleet vehicles are also using RNG. UPS and FedEx use thousands of RNG trucks and vans to deliver packages in all parts of California.
It should be noted that in the heavy-duty transportation sector, there are no viable and reliable clean-air alternatives to RNG. Not only has Tesla suspended its development of electric semi-trucks, but battery-powered buses have proven to be unreliable and costly when used in real-world conditions.
Is there existing RNG infrastructure in California?
Yes. Within California there are over 210,000 miles of natural gas pipelines that can carry RNG. There are also RNG filling stations throughout California. Often those stations are owned by the companies that use RNG. Regional transit and bus systems have RNG stations, as do most major companies using fleet vehicles including UPS and FedEx. Truck drivers are able to fuel up at RNG stations in all parts of California making RNG an easy choice for companies in the heavy-duty transportation sectors.