Renewable natural gas or biomethane is biogas produced from waste sources that has been upgraded to pipeline standards. This renewable form of natural gas can be used interchangeably with fossil natural gas. Fleets that transition to natural gas vehicles to reduce the environmental impact of their operations can dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas impact of their fleet when biomethane is widely available across Canada as a transportation fuel. Refueling stations built to dispense natural gas for vehicles can be used to dispense renewable natural gas , providing a near-zero emission option for the transportation sector.
Biomethane reduces greenhouse gas emissions on a total lifecycle or well-to-wheels basis by 85% or more depending on energy inputs to remove impurities. Canada’s natural gas distribution industry is collaborating with Natural Resources Canada to develop a Renewable Natural Gas Roadmap. This work is expected to identify and address barriers related to production and supply.
GazMétro recently announced Canada’s first liquefied biomethane station for trucks which will be located in Rivière-du-Loup, QC. The station will be supplied with fuel produced by upgrading biogas from local waste sources. A twenty-year fuel supply agreement is now in place to support this project.
Waste Management has the largest landfill gas-to-vehicle fuel project in North America. This project at the Altamont landfill in California generates 48,000 litres of renewable liquefied natural gas (LNG) per day year to fuel more than 300 refuse collection trucks.
Several Canadian municipalities are considering renewable natural gas as a vehicle fuel. Surrey, British Columbia, plans to use biomethane produced from municipal waste to fuel refuse collection trucks starting in 2014. British Columbia-based natural gas utility FortisBC is the first in Canada to offer renewable natural gas. Customers can purchase natural gas with a 10% renewable blend for a range of uses including transportation.