California fleets on RNG carbon-negative in 2020

By Mike Brezonick02 June 2021

Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) have reported that California fleets fueled with bio CNG achieved carbon-negativity for calendar year 2020.

According to the two groups, 92% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California last year was renewable natural gas (RNG). According to data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the annual average carbon intensity score of bio-CNG in that mix was -5.845 gCO2e/MJ.

Natural gas truck Two natural gas-related groups reported that California fleets using renewable natural gas were carbon-negative last year.

The carbon intensity of California’s bio CNG also continued to drop. Data from the fourth quarter of 2020 put the carbon intensity average of bio-CNG at -26.11 gCO2e/MJ, down from -0.85 in Q2 and -17.95 in the third quarter.

“For the first time ever, California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their 2020 transportation operations,” said NGVAmerica President Dan Gage. “This verified data means their trucks and buses leave a zero-carbon footprint while virtually eliminating criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality.”

In addition to their negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fueled trucks and buses performed at levels 95% below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 98% below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard.

“These numbers highlight the essential role RNG plays in achieving carbon neutrality,” stated Johannes Escudero, founder and CEO of the RNG Coalition. “RNG is a unique renewable energy source as it addresses the problem of waste management while mitigating climate challenges.”

Captured above ground from organic material in agricultural, wastewater, landfill, or food waste, RNG can produce carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, transit buses and refuse and recycling collection vehicles.

RNG use as a transportation fuel in California grew 177% over the last five years, the groups said. NGVAmerica and the RNG Coalition reported that in 2020 a total of 164.8 million gallon equivalents (DGE) of natural gas were used as motor fuel in the state. Of that, 152.4 DGE were from renewable sources.

NGVAmerica represents more than 200 companies, environmental groups, and government organizations interested in the promotion and use of natural gas and biomethane as transportation fuels. The RNG Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sustainable advancement of renewable natural gas (RNG) as a clean alternative and domestic energy resource and a key component and partial solution to addressing global climate change.

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