Renewable Natural Gas Production
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles. RNG is essentially biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter) that has been processed to purity standards. Like CNG, RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). RNG qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Biogas is produced from various biomass sources through a biochemical process, such as anaerobic digestion, or through thermochemical means, such as gasification. With minor cleanup, biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat. To fuel vehicles, biogas must be processed to a higher purity standard. This process is called conditioning or upgrading, and involves the removal of water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other trace elements. The resulting RNG, or biomethane, has a higher content of methane than raw biogas, which makes it comparable to conventional natural gas and thus a suitable energy source in applications that require pipeline-quality gas.
For a comprehensive list of projects that are upgrading gas for pipeline injection or use as vehicle fuel, see the Renewable Natural Gas Database developed and maintained by Argonne National Laboratory.
Biogas from Landfills
Landfills are designated locations for disposal of waste collected from residential, industrial, and commercial entities. Landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(PDF) (EPA). Biogas from landfills is also called landfill gas (LFG), as the digestion process takes place in the ground rather than in an anaerobic digester. As of June 2020, there were about 564 operational LFG projects in the United States, according to the EPA. However, most of these projects use biogas to produce electricity rather than power natural gas vehicles.
Learn about these LFG alternative fuel transportation projects:
- Waste Management’s Altamont Landfill near Livermore, California (see the case study)
- St. Landry Parish Landfill in Washington, Louisiana
- Joint Water Pollution Control Plants in Los Angeles County, California
Biogas from Livestock Operations
Biogas recovery systems at livestock operations can be used to produce renewable natural gas. Animal manure is collected and delivered to an anaerobic digester to stabilize and optimize methane production. The resulting biogas can be processed into RNG and used to fuel natural gas vehicles.
As of August 2017, there were about 250 anaerobic digester systems operating at commercial livestock farms in the United States. Most of these facilities use biogas for electricity generation. A few farms are using biogas to produce transportation fuel, including Hilarides Dairy in California and Fair Oaks Dairy in Indiana. EPA’s AgSTAR database provides more information about the use of such systems in the United States.
Biogas from Wastewater Treatment
Biogas can be produced during the digestion of solids removed in the wastewater treatment process. According to EPA estimates, this biogas potential(PDF) is about 1 cubic foot of digester gas per 100 gallons of wastewater. Energy generated at U.S. wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) could potentially meet 12% of the national electricity demand, according to a study released(PDF) by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the Water Environment Federation. This could spur some production of RNG for vehicle use as well.
There are more than 16,000 WWTPs in the United States, and about 1,300 employ anaerobic digestion to produce biogas that is used on site. The Janesville Wastewater Treatment Plant in Wisconsin is an example of a plant that uses biogas to produce RNG for use in vehicles.
Other Sources of Biogas
Other sources of biogas include organic waste from industrial, institutional, and commercial entities, such as food manufacturing and wholesalers, supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals, and educational facilities. Learn about the Sacramento BioDigester, the largest anaerobic digestion system of its kind in North America.
Biogas can also be produced from lignocellulosic material (such as crop residues, woody biomass, and dedicated energy crops) via thermochemical conversions, co-digestion, and dry fermentation. These technologies are underway in Europe, with limited applications in the United States.
Amazon has recently ordered more than 1,000 engines to be supplied by a joint venture between Westport and Cummins (NYSE: CMI), according to Reuters. The engines will run on renewable and non-renewable natural gas. Renewable natural gas (RNG) is made from methane derived from the breakdown of organic waste collected from farms, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and the like.
Companies are tapping into this thriving abundant market towards lower carbon footprints and social responsibility. This is no longer a band of few but rather many are in the know and actively progressing towards change utilizing RNG Gas.
NGV Global Group is offering logistic companies a hands on approach to implementing RNG into their current fleet. A lot of times companies need more than just a place to buy a RNG vehicle. They need assistance or guidance seeing it to fruition. NGV Global Groups approach offers that creating a higher success rate in companies implementation of alternative fuel use.
Call us today and our experts will help you select the right trailer or truck based on your needs.
- Dry Van.
- Refrigerated Trailers / Reefers.
- Flatbed Trailers.
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- Lowboy or Double-Drop Trailer.
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GET MORE INFO on RNG Virtual Pipeline Solutions
NGV Global Group Inc.
10733 Spangler Rd,
Dallas, TX 75220 USA
Phone: +1 (214) 630-1000
Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Additional reporting by Tim Aeppel and Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Daniel Wallis)