VP of Sustainability, Clean Energy
Net Zero Today With RNG
Trucking companies are making bold commitments to cut their carbon footprint, such as becoming net zero by a certain date. After the commitment is made, the hard work begins. Achieving net zero or better requires more than operational improvements. Renewable natural gas (RNG) has emerged as the leading pathway for low carbon, clean air trucking and is helping sustainable companies decarbonize their transportation today.
RNG is produced from green waste, food waste, landfills, sewage treatment, and livestock manure. These organic wastes naturally decompose into methane. Methane that leaks into the atmosphere is a potent greenhouse gas. Rather than releasing into the atmosphere and causing harm, methane can be captured and converted into a drop-in replacement for conventional natural gas.
When used for vehicle fueling, RNG reduces carbon two-fold. First by capturing methane that would escape into the atmosphere. Second, by replacing high carbon diesel fuel with low carbon RNG. RNG from dairy manure and food waste is even subzero carbon. For example, RNG produced from dairy manure has carbon emissions that can be over 500% lower than diesel.
Many areas of the U.S. have harmful air quality and diesel trucks play an oversized role in local air pollution. Air pollution contributes to respiratory, cardio, and other illnesses. Studies have linked local air pollution to susceptibility to COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Diesel trucks emit high amounts of local air pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and diesel particulate matter. Trucks powered by RNG have 90% to 98% lower NOx emissions than diesel trucks and eliminate 100% of the diesel particulate matter pollution.
With skyrocketing diesel prices, RNG fuel costs less than diesel fuel. RNG prices are also less volatile than petroleum fuel. RNG trucks have a maintenance benefit due to a simpler emissions control system consisting of a passive catalytic converter that requires no maintenance, unlike a diesel truck with a complex diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction system.
Climate pollution and air pollution are problems that exist today, not far in the future. While it is noteworthy for companies to make aspirational goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the future, RNG trucks offer the ability to achieve net zero immediately. RNG truck technology has been proven and perfected over the past 14 years. RNG engines are mass produced by Cummins and RNG trucks are produced by Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Volvo, and Mack. RNG fueling infrastructure is available throughout North America.
Trucking in the future will have a number of clean technology options such as RNG, battery electric, and hydrogen. Companies like Amazon, UPS, Waste Management, SAIA, Estes, and TTSI are deploying thousands of RNG trucks today. What do these sustainability-leading companies know? RNG is the lowest carbon fuel available and offers an affordable alternative to diesel today that is proven and scalable.
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