Colorado unveils study boosting use of renewable natural gas in mobility
The Colorado Energy Office released a Renewable Natural Gas in Transportation: Colorado Market Study that provides a preliminary assessment of Colorado’s potential to produce renewable natural gas from major organic waste sources—including landfills, wastewater, animal and food waste — for use in on-road transportation vehicles, such as buses and trucks. The study is authored on behalf of the office by Energy Vision.
With Colorado’s growing population and significant agricultural activities, the state has a considerable potential resource for producing biomethane. Based on organic feedstocks and existing technologies to capture and refine methane-rich biogases produced as waste materials decompose, the study finds Colorado’s renewable natural gas resource could replace approximately 140 million gallons of diesel, or 24% of the state’s total diesel consumption for transportation, eliminating approximately 1.4 million metric tons of CO2 from fuel combustion annually.
“Colorado has a significant opportunity to produce and utilize biomethane in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles throughout transportation systems in the state,” said Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office. “With renewable natural gas, the replacement of diesel fuel and mitigation of methane emissions from agricultural, municipal and commercial waste management practices could provide meaningful climate and clean air benefits through reduced greenhouse gas and nitrogen oxide emissions.”
To date, Colorado’s biomethane potential remains largely untapped. There may be potential for its use in the state outside the transportation sector as well, such as sourcing by electric utilities or natural gas distribution utilities. The study identifies additional areas of research for a Phase II “roadmap” study that CEO will conduct this fiscal year.
Funding will be available to public and private fleets for biomethane-powered vehicles and equipment through Colorado’s recently updated Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Beneficiary Mitigation Plan.