RNG Positions Natural Gas as the Better Green Alternative
If you don’t currently use renewable natural gas (RNG) to fuel your CNG fleet, chances are you will in the near future. This isn’t simply because RNG is transported through the same pipelines as traditional natural gas, but because of its growing popularity as a green alternative that’s available today. What makes RNG so successful, and what does it mean for your operations? Here are a few points to keep in mind:
It’s Compatible With Any CNG Vehicle
From the engine perspective, RNG and CNG are virtually indistinguishable, and that’s a good thing. They’re both primarily composed of methane, so regardless of the source — either biogas from dairies, wastewater, and landfills, or fossil fuels extracted from the earth — the end product is the same, and it performs the same. That means you aren’t required to make any modifications to your existing NGVs to reap the benefits. Phew!
(But keep in mind that renewable gas also doesn’t change how often you should inspect your cylinders and fuel systems, so make sure you’re keeping up with yours for safety, liability, and performance!)
This is because RNG comes from organic material that has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere. When it’s collected more than it emits, it’s even considered carbon-negative, which is why some argue that it’s a better green alternative to electric vehicles.
Others cite additional benefits. Natural gas vehicles are faster to deploy than electric, which can take up to three (3) years with a utility to implement. In most cases, CNG vehicles cost less than all-electric. And, due to limited battery capacity and charging stations, CNG vehicles offer a greater range.
More States and Companies Want In
RNG’s use has reportedly grown by 267% over the past five years, and it probably won’t surprise you to hear that California is leading that charge through several zero-emission target goals. TT News notes that 77% of all of the state’s on-road fuel in 2019 was renewable, compared to just over half of all on-road fuel used by the NG industry at large last year.
The only factor CNG vehicles have yet to overcome is price. They’re certainly cheaper than many electric options, but the same cannot be said for diesel — at least right now. Once rules from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) go into effect, “the total cost of ownership case for natural gas power should improve materially relative to diesel,” says the president of one research company.
It doesn’t hurt that big name logistics companies like UPS and Amazon have already hopped on the bandwagon. Even food processors are seeing the value of RNG, especially when they can capitalize on their own fuel source!
What Does This Mean for You?
If you’ve been big on diesel for as long as you can remember, this might be the impetus for transitioning to a natural gas fleet. That also means training your technicians on the proper inspection requirements, safety protocols, and vehicle diagnostics to make that fleet run as smoothly, safely, and affordably as it can. When the time comes, we have just the courses they’ll need to succeed!
As for those who already use CNG, not much will change when it comes to your daily operations. You’ll simply have access to a renewable and clean energy source. But don’t worry — we’ve still got training that will benefit your team, too!