Business Development Specialist, Alternative Fuels
Business Development Specialist, RNG
As decisions are weighed over longer-term climate plans, here’s why leaders are choosing renewable natural gas (RNG) as an immediate, cost-effective solutions to reduce Ontario’s emissions
Climate change is imminent, and decisive action is needed on the
best path forward. For governments and business leaders, it’s a complex issue: many solutions require significant cost investment, new infrastructure, or decades to effectively transition. As decisions are weighed over longer-term plans, here’s why leaders are choosing renewable natural gas (RNG) as an immediate, cost-effective solution to reduce Ontario’s emissions.
A pragmatic solution to a tough problem
To step up climate action quickly and affordably, RNG is among the most pragmatic of approaches. More than a third* of the food produced and distributed in the country gets discarded. RNG is produced from organic waste, so that uneaten potato salad or apple core is diverted from the landfill and repurposed as a renewable energy source. RNG is carbon-neutral and can also be added to the natural gas network. Unlike the electricity system, no infrastructure expansion is required to enable greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.
The benefit of producing and using RNG is that it captures methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Although methane from decomposing organic waste accounts for only 10 percent of GHG emissions, it contributes to global warming — it’s about 25 times† more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Proven, scalable, and quick to implement, RNG is not the only solution to climate change — but it’s an immediate, feasible way to reduce emissions and put Ontario on track for its long-term climate commitments.
With RNG produced from organic waste, vehicles can be carbon-negative
One of the most exciting applications for RNG is in the transportation sector. Earlier this year, Ontario’s first carbon-negative bus in Hamilton
set new standards for sustainable transit. Launched in partnership with Enbridge Gas, the bus is fuelled by locally-sourced RNG produced at
the StormFisher facility in London, ON. RNG is renewable and plentiful, and its cumulative impact — from diverting methane to displacing diesel emissions—takes the vehicle’s emissions to below zero.
The carbon-negative bus is just one example of an effective and scalable step forward. In recent years, Hamilton Street Railway moved away from diesel and expanded its fleet with more than 130 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. Today, it’s uniquely positioned to fuel them with compressed RNG and amplify its environmental impact even further.
The “quick win” of decarbonizing light-duty fleets
So what about vehicles that still have years of useful life? Rather than electrify an entire fleet at once, it’s more manageable to convert existing diesel, propane or gasoline vehicles to RNG and reduce emissions right away. There are many opportunities in light- to medium-duty fleets
(Class 1 – 6), including:
- Snow plows
- Refuse trucks
- Delivery trucks
- Supervisory vehicles
- Public works vehicles
- Emergency vehicles
- School buses
CNG vehicles serve as a low-risk, low-cost “proof of concept” to support the case for larger RNG projects. In the long run, demonstrating success at a small scale will help strengthen the case for broader RNG fleet conversions.
The City of Toronto has implemented an initiative to produce and use RNG. Every year, about 35 percent of the City of Toronto’s Green Bin organic waste is transformed into RNG, diverting about 55,000 tonnes of organic waste from landfills. The RNG is used to fuel the city’s waste collection fleet and added to the natural gas system, which cuts down on GHG emissions and reduces reliance on landfills.
Expert help to find the lowest-cost path to conversion
Every climate solution has complexity. Embridge Gas’ dedicated team of energy experts are ready to provide you with the technical expertise and information to produce and use RNG. Enbridge Gas works closely with agribusiness, food processors, municipalities, waste management, and other organizations to help identify, facilitate, and get RNG projects off the ground.
As partners in sustainability, Enbridge’s team can help find RNG opportunities that leverage existing investments in vehicles or buildings. Take advantage of expertise, insights from successful past projects, and access to the North American marketplace.
RNG will play an important role in the clean energy transition. As plans to reduce emissions evolve, it’s a promising and proven way for more leaders to take meaningful climate action.
† Source: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/transparency-and-reporting/greenhouse-gas-data/frequently-asked-questions/global-warming-potentials-ipcc-fourth-assessment-report
‡ CO2e stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. It is used to describe different greenhouse gases in a common unit.
** Net emissions from vehicle using 40,000 m3 RNG/year. 40,000 m3 of RNG is the equivalent of 1,623 GJ or 451,195 kwh of energy per year.
†† 85,000 kg CO2e/yr of CO2 is released from the combustion of RNG. Since RNG is derived from organic waste produced by plants that take up CO2, these CO2 emissions are considered biogenic and not additional to the atmosphere. Trace amounts of CH4 and N2O are also produced from the combustion of RNG that result in 11,000kg CO2e/year of emissions being released.
‡‡ Net emissions from powering electric bus using 451,000 kwh/year based on Ontario grid.
All calculations are based on Ontario’s electric grid for illustration purposes only. Actual calculations will be provided when working with Enbridge Gas. © 2021 Enbridge Gas Inc. All rights reserved. ENB 657 09/2021