Mitigating Climate Change with Renewable Natural Gas

Mitigating Climate Change with Renewable Natural Gas

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A new report from UCR’s Center for Renewable Natural Gas showed that renewable natural gas from existing resources can play a key role in helping the state achieve its climate and renewable energy goals. 

Renewable natural gas is defined as pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with fossil natural gas. It is produced from upgraded methane gas and related processes that originate from in-state landfill resources.

According to the report, renewable natural gas can be substituted for/or blended with conventional natural gas. Conventional natural gas is not renewable because it is piped from deposits beneath the earth’s crust. Like other fossil fuels, natural gas also produces greenhouse gases during combustion that contribute to climate change. Replacing fossil natural gas with renewable gas can result in significant greenhouse-gas emission reductions, in addition to other environmental benefits.

The study projected that approximately 99 billion cubic feet of renewable natural gas can be produced each year through landfill gas conversion and other processes. 

The study also recommended the state of California adopt a renewable gas standard that would expedite both an increase in renewable natural gas production and use. A renewable gas standard would require the injection of increasing percentages of renewable gas into the natural gas pipeline infrastructure to meet specific renewable percentage targets compared to total natural gas consumption.

Arun Raju, Director of UCR’s Center for Renewable Natural Gas and lead researcher on the study told UCR Today, “The analysis shows that renewable natural gas production from in-state resources can make a meaningful and sustained contribution toward the state’s greenhouse-gas goals at costs that are comparable to ongoing and proposed measures,”

Raju further stressed that the replacement of a mere five percent of the state’s fossil natural gas consumption with renewable natural gas would represent a valuable and consequential transition toward renewables while also yielding significant reductions in greenhouse-gas emission.

The full report is available online at http://www.cert.ucr.edu/crng/Optimal_Pathways_Report.pdf.

Header Photo: Arun Raju, Director of UCR’s Center for Renewable Natural Gas

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