California fleets fuelled with bio-CNG achieve carbon negativity

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California fleets with bio-CNG achieved carbon negativity in 2020, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition).

Ninety-two percent of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California last year was RNG. According to data from the California Air Resources Board, the annual average carbon intensity (CI) score of bio-CNG in that mix was -5.845 g CO2e/MJ.

According to the groups, the CI of California’s bio-CNG continues to drop. Data from Q4 2020 puts the CI average of bio-CNG at -26.11 g CO2e/MJ, down from -0.85 in Q2 and -17.95 in Q3.

“For the first time ever, California fleets fuelled 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 achieving negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fuelled trucks and buses perform at levels that are 95% below the federal NOx standard, and 98% below the federal particulate matter standard.

“These numbers highlight the essential role RNG plays in achieving carbon neutrality,” commented Johannes Escudero, founder and CEO of RNG Coalition.

“RNG is a unique renewable energy source, as it addresses the problem of waste management while mitigating climate challenges.”

RNG as a transport fuel grew by 177% in California over the last five years. NGVAmerica and the RNG Coalition report that in 2020, a total of 164.8 million gallons of natural gas were used as a motor fuel in the state. Of that, 152.4 million gallons were from renewable sources.

RNG as a motor fuel in California in 2020 displaced 1.83 million tons of CO2e. Put into perspective, this lowered GHG emissions, equivalent to removing the GHG from nearly 4.6 billion miles driven by the average passenger car; eliminated CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing CO2 emissions from 205.7 million gallons of petrol consumed or the energy use of 220,118 California homes in one year; and sequestered carbon equal to growing around 30.2 million tree seedlings for 10 years, or 2.24 million acres of US forests for one year.