which will help to counteract the pollution and reduce maintenance costs.
RNG is Decarbonizing the Trucking Industry
There are multiple initiatives and actions taken at the global scale to combat climate change and greenhouse gasses pollution, which is considered to be the key prerequisite for it.
- Sustainable Development Goals (UNDP);
- Carbon Action Initiative (UNFCCC);
- Energy Star Program (US EPA).
The time has finally come for the trucking industry to follow suit and to make its contribution to the global effort.
The key source of pollution from the heavy cargo transport is its exhaust gasses generated because of the fuel burning, so now the solution seems to have been found and the new RNG-based and low-emission fuel enters the stage.
Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as Sustainable Natural Gas (SNG) or biomethane, is biogas that has been upgraded to a quality similar to fossil natural gas and has a methane concentration of 90% or higher. Biogas is the product of green matter and other waste decay, which is quite harmful for the environment by itself, so capturing and utilizing it resolves two tasks at time:
- Finding an environmentally-friendly fuel;
- Protecting nature from the harmful effects of methane gas.
By upgrading the quality of methane-based biogas to the quality of natural gas, it becomes possible to distribute the gas to consumers through the existing gas. Renewable natural gas is a type of synthetic natural gas or substitute natural gas (SNG).
For you to better understand the efficiency of the innovation we can explain:
Average truck’s carbon footprint is 201,834 kilograms or 223 tons of carbon dioxide. An average transportation company in the US, like HMD Trucking (https://www.hmdtrucking.com/) correspondingly emits 66900 tons of CO2 per year. By implementing the new solution this figure is going to be just around 1320 tons.
The US is currently suffering quite a lot from the impact of severe pollution with California, Houston and Dallas leading the ranks of the most affected.
That is why it seems quite encouraging that the representatives of the NGVAmerica association have promised that by 2030 80% of natural gas vehicle motor fuel (NGV), which is produced in the United States, will be produced from renewable sources. By 2050, this figure is planned to rise to 100%.
In 2020 renewable natural gas (RNG), which is collected at wastewater treatment plants, local landfills, food waste processing plants, and agricultural facilities, has seriously ousted traditional fossil-based natural gas sources in the US gas motor fuel market.
At the same time, the carbon intensity (CI) of renewable natural gas RNG continues to decline. Vehicles fueled with bio-CNG in California in 2020 had an average annual CI of -5.845 gCO2e/MJ. As of the first quarter of 2021, the Cl of bio-CNG in California is -16.57 gCC2e/MJ. NGVAmerica’s President Dan Gage said climate change mitigation requires immediate investment in technologies to clean up and decarbonize the transportation sector.
Dan Gage believes that RNG motor fuel solves two important problems at once that affect climate change.
- It eliminates liability for waste that is turned into a green energy asset;
- In the future, these wastes are converted into biofuels that replace diesel.
As a result of these two, the transport sector is cleaned and decarbonized.
According to NGVAmerica, the most cost-effective investment with the highest positive impact on reducing emissions is investing in commercially available RNG-powered natural gas vehicles. This year, the US Senate approved the Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act, which opens up many opportunities to expand the use of RNG motor fuels. For example, for environmentally friendly school buses, heavy trucks, ferries, intercity buses and so on.
NGVAmerica stated that there are currently 190 RNG production facilities in operation in North America. Another 252 such facilities are under construction or in the process of obtaining permits.
One more reason to consider this innovation quite promising is that by eliminating dense pollution trucks will not need an expensive exhaust cleaning system, including a diesel particulate filter and will go with a simple catalytic converter, same as in standard passenger cars. So. the price of this system itself and of its maintenance will drop several times.
As a conclusion, we would like to state that the new innovative fuel has already proved to be successful and much is expected from it in the future. Although the process of conversion to the new fuel type might take years and decades, the plan seems quite feasible and results to be obtained quite tangible.
So, this is certainly the way to go for the transportation industry both in the US and for the whole world.