The potential for renewable natural gas in truck fleets

The end goal for much of transportation is to “electrify everything.” But the reality is that today, when the market for heavy-duty electric trucks is still nascent, there are other cost-effective and low-emission fuel options that fleets that run big vehicles — such as garbage trucks or semi-trucks — are embracing.

An important one is renewable natural gas (RNG), biogas collected from sites that have decomposing organic matter, such as landfills, farms and wastewater treatment plants. RNG is interesting because, depending on the source, the fuel actually can be emissions-negative, meaning the collective project and fuel remove more greenhouse gases than they produce.

Why? Take a dairy farm, where cow waste is a significant contributor to the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. If a farm collects that cow waste biogas and turns it into fuel for a fleet, it’s not only slashing the emissions from its farm, it’s also contributing to the displacement of diesel or natural gas use in a truck fleet.