Trucks at Work

Ryder to try renewable natural gas fuel

One of the big long-term promises of natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel is that it can be made from landfill waste – a process I’ve discussed in this space before.

Ryder System, Inc. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. are the latest companies trying to commercialize what’s now being called renewable natural gas (RNG), which in turn can be converted into either compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Ryder said it is going to switch its Orange, CA, and Fontana, CA, natural gas refueling stations over to Clean Energy’s “Redeem” RNG fuel, with Clean Energy as part of the deal providing fuel station maintenance services to those two locations.

Clean Energy began producing “Redeem” RNG about two years ago and said it is “on track” to deliver over 40 million gallons of it this year alone.

[Below is a short video describing how it’s made.]

RNG is also often referred to as “biomethane,” as it is derived from biogenic methane or biogas, which is methane that is naturally generated by the decomposition of organic waste.

As the video shows, that methane gas is then processed, purified and sent into the interstate natural gas pipeline.

By making the switch to Redeem, Ryder said it expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 6,300 metric tons per year using current fuel volumes – the equivalent of removing approximately 1,319 passenger cars from the road annually.

(Though it should be noted that there are some who claim natural gas isn’t the climate friendly fuel everyone thinks it is).

“Our decision to use 100% renewable natural gas is based upon our ongoing commitment to ensuring we are delivering solutions that help our customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” noted Scott Perry, Ryder’s VP-supply management and global fuel products. “With Redeem, we achieve that with a 100% renewable fuel.”

It’ll also be interesting to watch how RNG performs in real-word commercial truck service. That will be the key to determining whether this type of renewable fuel offers trucking a solid alternative.

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