How Does the Quality of Renewable Natural Gas Stack up to Fossil Natural Gas?
A common misconception is that the quality of renewable natural gas is inferior to that of fossil natural gas as it contains higher levels of contaminants compared to fossil natural gas. But this has proven to be untrue. The Gas Technology Institute compared constituent concentrations of fossil natural gas and renewable natural gas derived from different feedstocks and found that while the concentrations of contaminants such as siloxanes, metals, and halocarbons were typically higher in renewable natural gas compared to fossil natural gas, contaminants such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide, total sulfur, volatile hydrocarbons and other volatile organic carbons (VOCs) were typically lower.
Changing Public Perceptions Regarding the Quality of Renewable Natural Gas
Educational outreach programs can help address these misconceptions by providing RNG project stakeholders and the general public with important information regarding the development of renewable natural gas projects and the benefits that these projects can offer. Educational outreach materials targeting a variety of audiences, including technical materials to assist RNG project stakeholders evaluate the merits of an RNG project, are available from various sources, as outlined below.
RNG Educational Resources
SoCalGas RNG Tool Kit
SoCalGas have put together a renewable natural gas tool kit covering the basics of renewable natural gas, as well as more technical information, such as answering questions regarding pipeline interconnection and providing information regarding gas specifications, upgrading technologies, and incentives offered, together with other resources and tools. While the basic RNG information provided in the SoCalGas RNG tool kit is pretty general, the majority of the resources included in the tool kit apply specifically to California.
The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas
The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas has a website that offers a wide range of resources and reports, including RNG project data, a model pipeline specification, and also allows RNG project stakeholders to track state and federal policy.
The US Department of Energy
The US Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center offers access to online tools and data pertaining to RNG, with a focus on RNG used for vehicle fuel.
Energy Vision is an independent online resource offering a wide range of resources related to the production of RNG, including workshops, educational outreach materials, and online resources such as case studies, fact sheets, and research reports outlining the economic, environmental, and air quality benefits that transitioning to renewable natural gas offers.
These resources provide a good starting point for RNG stakeholders to gather information that can be used to assist them when evaluating an RNG project, as well as in their marketing strategy, and to help change public perception towards the quality of renewable natural gas while highlighting the environmental and economic benefits it offers.
Featured Image by Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)