On June 17th, we recognize the hard work of the men and women who collect our garbage and recyclables. They not only keep our communities clean, but with advancements in renewable gas technology, they’re also helping fuel their fleets with clean, renewable natural gas (RNG).
Right here in the Pacific Northwest, landfills are turning trash into renewable natural gas that is then fueling those very trucks sent to collect the waste. It’s full circle.
Renewable natural gas captures organic methane gas from materials like wood, food, trash and agriculture waste that would otherwise pollute our planet. Instead that waste is now fueling large truck fleets, decarbonizing parts of our transportation system.
Cleaner air starts with cleaner trucks. It’s not only good for our planet, but natural gas and renewable natural gas vehicles are also more cost effective at reducing criteria pollutant emissions. When comparing the cost of NOx reduction, natural gas refuse trucks are 86% more cost effective than diesel and 54% more cost effective than electric alternatives.
That’s why renewable natural gas use as a transportation fuel has increased 267% during the past five years. In 2020 alone, its use eliminated 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. Now, 53% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles is renewable natural gas and that number continues to grow with advancements in other renewable gas, such as green hydrogen both of which utilize existing natural gas infrastructure.
In states with clean fuel standard programs, RNG use as a transportation fuel is even greater. Last year in California, 92% of all natural gas motor fuel was derived from renewable sources. And the California Air Resources Board data confirms that state fleets fueled by this bio-CNG (RNG) achieved a carbon negative result in 2020, with an annual average carbon intensity of -5.845 gCO2e/MJ. That’s a carbon negative commercial truck outcome now, not in five or ten years.
Thank you to our refuse industry workers for keeping our communities clean and turning a waste liability into a green energy asset.
By Daniel Gage, President of Natural Gas Vehicles for America