RNG can produce carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles  -  Photo: Canva

RNG can produce carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles

Photo: Canva

Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) announced that California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their transportation operations last calendar year for the third straight year. 

Renewable natural gas (RNG) accounted for 97% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California in 2022.

According to data from the California Air Resources Board the annual average carbon intensity score of bio-CNG in that mix was -98.98 gCO2e/MJ.1       

Yielding Carbon-Negative Outcomes

Renewable natural gas (RNG), obtained from organic materials found in agriculture, wastewater, landfills, or food waste, has the potential to yield carbon-negative outcomes when utilized as a fuel for on-road vehicles such as short- and long-haul trucks, transit buses, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles.

In California, the adoption of RNG as a transportation fuel has experienced remarkable growth, increasing by 169% in the past five years.

According to a report by NGVAmerica and the RNG Coalition, the state consumed a total of 197.45 million gallons (diesel gallon equivalent) of natural gas as motor fuel in 2022. Out of this total, 190.146 million gallons (diesel gallon equivalent) were sourced from renewable origins.

The Sole Alternative Fuel Achieving Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

State of the Fuel Industry: Alternative Fuels

According to data from CARB's Low Carbon Fuel Standard program, bio-CNG stands as the sole motor fuel in California's alternative fuel portfolio that achieves net-zero carbon emissions. This portfolio includes ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG, electricity, alternative jet fuel, and hydrogen.

Furthermore, ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses fueled by RNG exhibit outstanding performance, with their greenhouse gas emissions rated as 95 percent below the federal nitrogen oxide standard and 98% below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard. By employing NGVs, the emission of criteria pollutants that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality is virtually eliminated.

Ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fueled trucks and buses perform at levels that are 95% below the federal nitrogen oxide standard.  -  Photo: NGVAmerica

Ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fueled trucks and buses perform at levels that are 95% below the federal nitrogen oxide standard.

Photo: NGVAmerica

The Path to Decarbonization

To successfully achieve ambitious decarbonization targets in the transportation sector within the next decade, it is crucial to prioritize the transition of heavily polluting, high-mileage commercial fleets to cost-effective carbon-negative solutions such as trucks fueled by RNG.

These commercially available trucks are already generating significant reductions in both air pollution and carbon emissions.

In contrast to ZEV options like battery electric and hydrogen, which are still in development, RNG-fueled trucks and buses benefit from an established public fueling infrastructure in California and a well-developed network of service providers and suppliers.

These RNG trucks offer affordability and scalability, meeting the range and operational requirements of various commercial medium- and heavy-duty applications.

Furthermore, unlike alternatives relying on overseas components, RNG fueled trucks and buses do not depend on foreign sourcing and control.

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