Author: U.S. Gain
U.S. Gain

RNG Creates Strong Business Case for Sustainability Goals

The problem: our air is unhealthy to breathe

Currently, 134 million people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. That’s 4 out of every 10 Americans. The number one source of smog is transportation. Breathing in this air can elevate their risk of asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. 

Leading corporations have taken a collective stand—committing to reduce their carbon impact and improve the quality of life (specifically clean air) for communities across the globe. As corporations seek carbon reductions throughout their facilities and supply chain activities, transportation features a significant opportunity to evaluate.

The solution: Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)

If we want cleaner air, RNG as an alternative fuel can get us there. RNG is produced through the capture of methane (a potent greenhouse gas considered responsible for nearly one-third of global warming) from agricultural farms, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants. It is then cleaned to purity standards and used as an alternative fuel. Innovative natural gas engine technology provides emission reductions below EPA-regulated levels. RNG features unrivaled well-to-wheel (WTW) benefits due to reduced emissions during both production and use, making it the cleanest available fuel for the transportation sector.

But electric vehicles (EVs) feature zero emissions—aren’t they the cleanest? Tesla has a heightened focus on EVs in the heavy-duty trucking space and promotes zero emissions, but one must note this only refers to tailpipe emissions. As EVs are evaluated on a WTW perspective, emissions are actually much higher. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, it takes so much energy to make batteries that power EVs with a 250-mile range, that EVs start out life with a carbon footprint 68 percent higher than a piston-engine car. In the case of EV charging, most power production comes from either natural gas combustion or coal-powered energy plants—which too, must factor into the overall WTW comparison. As production and use benefits are collectively evaluated, RNG is still the cleanest fuel available.

Additionally, RNG provides benefits beyond emissions. As companies develop production facilities, they’re also investing in local economies by means of job creation. Since 2014, the development of RNG has resulted in 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. As renewables become the fastest growing segment of the entire energy industry, its impact to domestic job creation will continue to increase.

RNG presents a variety of new business cases to consider. With many greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in need of fulfillment by 2030, corporations should consider RNG. Fuel is abundant, vehicle technology is proven and capable, infrastructure is developed, and financial incentives from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) sweeten the economic return. Further, with diesel prices once again on the rise, there is no better time than now to evaluate the economic and environmental return RNG can provide. Contact us today to learn more.

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