Renewable natural gas (RNG) got a boost this week when UPS announced an agreement to supply three of its California fueling stations with the fuel. According to UPS, nearly 400 of its vehicles will begin to run on RNG starting this month, making it the shipping industry’s largest user of this alternative fuel. The move is part of the company’s goal of driving one billion miles using its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017.
Renewable natural gas, or biomethane, is made from the methane produced by landfills, wastewater treatment plants and large farms and dairies. It can be used to power anything that already runs on natural gas. Since UPS has already made an investment in vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, the company won’t need any new equipment to switch those trucks to RNG.
“Today’s RNG agreement will help mature the market for this promising alternative fuel,” said Mitch Nichols, UPS senior vice president of transportation and engineering. “This commitment also positions UPS to use RNG in its extensive natural gas fleet which includes more than 2,500 medium and heavy duty vehicles.”
The deal was made with Clean Energy Fuels Corp., maker of Redeem, which was the first RNG fuel to hit the commercial market back in 2013. UPS estimates that its stations in Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento will pump 1.5 million gallon equivalents annually of Redeem RNG fuel.
Not only is RNG not derived from fossil fuels, it has lower emissions than conventional diesel or gasoline, and it prevents the methane emissions that happen when the waste its made from is left to decay. (Methane is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.)
While the market for renewable natural gas is still small, we are encouraged that a company like UPS has committed to integrating this promising fuel into its fleet. To learn more about RNG, check out our infographic, Renewable Natural Gas: Clean Green Energy.