Renewable Natural Gas

The Feasibility of Renewable Natural Gas as a Large-Scale, Low-Carbon Substitute

Leaders: Amy Jaffe, Rosa Dominguez-Faus

Description: The aim of this study on renewable natural gas is to assess the feasibility that renewable natural gas could serve as a low carbon alternative fuel to meet the LCFS and to evaluate how much volume of this fuel could be made available and over what time period and at what savings in emissions and cost compared to traditional hydrocarbon based transportation fuels. The study would also address whether the diversion of renewable natural gas into the transport sector would impact other bioenergy pathways in California including heating, power generation and liquid fuels.

Funder: CA Air Resources Board

Addressing a Renewable Natural Gas Transportation Fuel Research Roadmap

Leader: Marshall Miller

Description: ITS-Davis researchers will investigate the role of natural gas in transportation applications. The study will:

  • Assess the potential penetration of natural gas in transportation applications in the United States and in California including trucking, light-duty vehicles, rail, and possibly shipping under different policy and market conditions
  • Project scenarios for natural gas usage in transportation applications through 2050
  • Assess long term LNG demand for long haul trucks
  • Model the natural gas transportation infrastructure using a GIS based model which will project the optimal configuration under different assumptions of cost, demand, price of natural gas and petroleum.
  • Assess the potential for renewable natural gas to contribute to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard mandate and long-term climate change goals
  • Assess the optimum pathway among biomass conversion alternatives comparing renewable natural gas in power and transportation sectors to the use of biomass feedstocks for other liquid bio-products
  • Assess the potential for renewable natural gas to utilize incumbent or newly emerging infrastructure for fossil natural gas in transportation in California
  • Identify areas where greater research is needed to (a) speed commercialization of renewable natural gas and (b) understand the environmental impacts associated with these fuels
  • Identify regulatory and technological barriers to the commercialization of renewable natural gas and investigate policies that might be needed to incentivize investment in this area of alternative fuels development

ITS-Davis will leverage these studies and work with CALSTART researchers to identify barriers to commercialization of RNG, critical technologies necessary for the expansion of RNG usage, and the most promising research priorities.

Funder: CA Energy Commission