Renewable Natural Gas

Redeeming Waste in Today’s Circular Economy

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Around the world, communities are transforming their trash, animal manure and wastewater into productive, clean, renewable natural gas (RNG)

By embracing today’s science and technology, forward-thinking farmers, cities, and companies are ushering in the next generation of recycling. Waste products that were once discarded as useless, are now redeemed for purposeful and productive use as fuel, heat, power and products.

Clean

Renewable natural gas is carbon negative, carbon neutral, or ultra-low carbon. Total carbon intensity depends on the facts specific to each source. 

Affordable

Switching to RNG is a great way to lower your fuel costs or affordably decarbonize your thermal load.

Waste to Energy

Waste is no longer waste. Manure, sewage, trash and more can be converted into high quality fuel for energy.

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The Coalition for RNG

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) serves as the public policy advocate and education platform for the Renewable Natural Gas industry in North America. 

The RNG Coalition advocates for sustainable development, deployment and utilization of renewable natural gas so that present and future generations will have access to domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy. 

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What is Renewable Natural Gas?

RNG is upgraded biogas, or hydrogen derived from renewable energy sources, processed to meet pipeline quality standards or transportation fuel grade requirements. 

Where does Biogas come from?

As organic waste decomposes, it naturally releases a biogas predominately comprised of Methane, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen and Oxygen. Too often, biogas vents into the atmosphere as harmful, fugitive greenhouse gas. Where biogas is captured, it is regularly flared (wasted). In the best of non-RNG scenarios, biogas is used on-site for heating or power. 

How does Biogas become RNG?

Waste can be processed through anaerobic digestion or gasification in a controlled environment where biogas is collected and controlled.  Using today’s advanced treating technologies, biogas is cleaned to meet every standard of interchangeability in existing gas infrastructure for productive uses like home heating, cooktops, electricity generation, industrial processes, and transportation fuel.   

What  Sources Produce Biomethane?

Biomethane is renewable (as it is naturally produced from organic materials as they decay) and has an unlimited supply, whereas the methane sold by gas companies has a limited supply and is not renewable.  Biomethane is produced in an anaerobic digester from certain materials  as they decay.  These are some of the sources of RNG.

Landfill waste

The Trash We Throw Away

Wastewater

Wastewater Treatment Systems

Manure

Esp. from Cows, Hogs & Chickens

Food Waste

Separated Organics

Companies/Organizations Involved with

Renewable Natural Gas

How is RNG used?

Renewable natural gas is interchangeable with geologic natural gas, which means that we use RNG in any natural gas application. RNG can heat our homes, fuel our cooktops and ovens, generate electricity, and fuel vehicles. RNG can also be used for commercial and industrial heat including to help make sustainable products.

RNG for Your Home or Business

 Your gas utility may already offer you the option to elect RNG instead of natural gas (or as a percentage of your gas consumption). Many utilities are currently working with state regulators to get permission to offer an RNG option to their customers. Your current gas appliances will operate on RNG without requiring any modification or impact to performance.

RNG for Your Vehicle

 Many trucks, trams, busses, fleets and garbage haulers fuel with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)  or Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Today, more than one third (1/3) of CNG and LNG vehicle fuel in the United States is RNG. Garbage haulers are increasingly converted to RNG, since they can literally fuel with the RNG generated by the trash they pick up at your curbside.

RNG for Your Electricity

 Electricity is generated by a variety of different sources. In order for an electricity grid to function, intermittent sources of electricity (like wind and solar) must be balanced with baseload sources of electricity (like natural gas or RNG). This balance ensures that your lights will turn on and your air conditioner will run when you need them, even when the sun isn’t shining, or the wind isn’t blowing.

RNG for Your Industry

Many of the products we use every day are made or manufactured in processes that require heating. Sources of industrial heat vary greatly. RNG is adopted by industry because it is clean, storable, and sustainable. Even more important to some, RNG consumers can report their use in their Sustainability Accounting and achieve significant reductions in their GHG footprint.

Benefits of RNG

Renewable Natural Gas is a great environmental and economic choice. RNG production and use promotes clean air and water, reduced GHG emissions, better waste management practices, and job creation. 

Renewable Natural Gas reduces smog and improves air quality

 RNG use in today’s natural gas vehicles can immediately and uniquely delivery 90 percent or greater NOx emissions reductions. 

 Renewable Natural Gas displaces fuels that emit harmful exhaust with high concentrations of particulate matter (PM).

 PM is a toxic air contaminant that can cause acute and chronic health problem. One third of Americans have heart or blood vessel diseases and are at higher risks from air pollution. Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter can worsen these health concerns.

 

Renewable Natural Gas projects capture methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change

RNG is carbon-neutral according to source-based accounting guidelines of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  

RNG from animal manure feedstock is carbon-negative using lifecycle accounting using Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model. 

RNG carbon abatement costs range between $55 – $300 per metric ton of CO2. For comparison, residential electrification carbon abatement costs range between $572 – $806 per metric ton of CO2. 

 

Renewable Natural Gas production encourages responsible waste reduction, collection, and management

Americans discard nearly 250 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, including 70 million tons of food and yard waste. A significant fraction of food waste is considered unavoidable, which include peelings and skins, bones and fats, oils and fresh food mistakenly left to rot.

Manure management for RNG production helps reduce discharge, seepage and runoff that harms groundwater resources.

RNG promotes a more circular economy, including through the use of waste-derived RNG to fuel refuse trucks, milk trucks, and parcel carrier vehicles.

Renewable Natural Gas production encourages responsible waste reduction, collection, and management.

Americans discard nearly 250 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, including 70 million tons of food and yard waste. A significant fraction of food waste is considered unavoidable, which include peelings and skins, bones and fats, oils and fresh food mistakenly left to rot.

Manure management for RNG production helps reduce discharge, seepage and runoff that harms groundwater resources.

RNG promotes a more circular economy, including through the use of waste-derived RNG to fuel refuse trucks, milk trucks, and parcel carrier vehicles.

 

Renewable Natural Gas brings quality jobs, especially in rural areas

Every 100 million gallons (EGE) of RNG production drives the creation of 550 job. RNG jobs are estimated to provide $68,960 of income per worker. 

 Job impacts from RNG projects are generally concentrated in rural areas, where the effects are more likely to be significant relative to the size of the local economy and the availability of well-paying jobs. 

 RNG production can generate two to six times more jobs per unit of energy produced than fossil fuel production, depending on the source of the organic waste. In part, this is because organic waste requires ongoing collection and treatment. 

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