Our energy future looks very promising, thanks to the abundance of alternative energy solutions on our horizon. Commercial businesses and consumers can now choose between electricity, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen fuel to power their fleets and personal vehicles for transportation alone. One of these, compressed natural gas (CNG), has been powering commercial vehicles such as buses and work trucks for decades and is an effective and clean energy source.
Is CNG renewable?
It depends on how the CNG is produced.
CNG still relies on fossil fuel, natural gas, as its base. The most significant component of natural gas is methane that formed over millions of years as the remains of plants and animals decomposed and built up in layers within the Earth. Pressure and heat converted the carbon and hydrogen-rich bio-material into coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Regular natural gas is abundant but is not renewable.
There’s another option, though. Modern advances created an alternative, renewable natural gas or RNG. RNG, or biomethane, is a pipeline-quality vehicle fuel produced from organic materials such as landfill or animal waste through anaerobic digestion. Essentially, the methane produced by these wastes is captured and converted into renewable natural gas. RNG is an advanced biofuel and can be compressed to create a renewable form of CNG.
To make CNG, natural gas or RNG is compressed to less than 1% of its original volume to provide adequate power for vehicle operation. The CNG is stored in a gaseous state within the vehicle at a pressure of up to 3,600 pounds per square inch.
Why choose CNG?
CNG is a clean-burning fuel. When compared to other types of petroleum or coal fuel options, burning natural gas results in fewer emissions of nearly all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide. Using CNG reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 90 to 97%. When a company changes out just one of their commercial trucks from diesel to CNG, the effect on the atmosphere is equivalent to removing 325 cars from the road.
Using CNG also means we are reducing our reliance on other countries to supply our power. Production facilities within the United States are capable of fulfilling our power needs within our borders.
Drivers and passengers of CNG-powered vehicles like them. Anyone who has ridden a conventionally fueled bus is familiar with the exhaust fumes these vehicles emit. These fumes are non-existent with a CNG-powered vehicle, providing a smooth and clean ride. These vehicles have the same amount of horsepower and torque as diesel engines, making them a good solution for heavy-duty fleet and work vehicles, and transit and school buses. In fact, 60% of refuse trucks operating today are powered by CNG.
Are you interested in learning more about ways we can keep our air and water clean?
Visit us at www.roguevalleycleancities.org. Together, we can keep our communities clean for generations to come! The Rogue Valley Clean Cities’ mission is to promote and educate on alternate fuels, decrease dependency on petroleum, and promote clean air and water in the Rogue Valley via alternate fuels. Contact us today for more information!