Up and down the I-5 Corridor, transit agencies (TAs) large and small are evaluating alternatives to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions of their fleets. For a variety of reasons, many TAs are coming to the realization that they should not rely entirely on any single alternative fuel as they seek to scrub their emission profiles.
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and Renewable Hydrogen (RH2) can achieve meaningful GHG reductions. The April 16th edition of the American Biogas Council’s regular newsletter notes that 53% of natural gas used as a transportation fuel in the United States is RNG.
The same newsletter notes that the California Air Resource Board has calculated a Carbon Intensity (CI) Score for RNG used as a transportation fuel in California as -17.95 grams of carbon dioxide equivalence per megajoule. In other words, using RNG as a transportation fuel in California doesn’t just reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), it has the net effect of removing them from the atmosphere!
When variable renewable energy resources like wind and solar energy are used to create RH2, we benefit from a transportation fuel that offers 100% GHG reductions. Better yet, RH2 can be stored over the long term, unlike the renewable electricity used to produce it. In other words, we can take that unneeded megawatt-hour produced in May and store it as RH2 for use in December!
The infrastructure already exists. Both RH2 and RNG utilize the same safe, reliable and extensive underground system that delivers and stores natural gas throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Finally, battery-electric technology offers an attractive solution with zero tailpipe emissions in select applications. Recent unplanned power outages in Texas, California, and Oregon, however, have highlighted that electricity may not always be available when needed, particularly during extended extreme weather events.
For these and other reasons, transit agencies should evaluate RNG and RH2 as part of a portfolio of clean fuels powering the transit futures of their communities.
To learn more about the benefits of using RNG as transportation fuel, please click here.