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Quantifying the Potential of Renewable Natural Gas to Support a Reformed Energy Landscape: Estimates for New York State

Abstract

Public attention to climate change challenges our locked-in fossil fuel-dependent energy sector. Natural gas is replacing other fossil fuels in our energy mix. One way to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of fossil natural gas is to replace it with renewable natural gas (RNG). The benefits of utilizing RNG are that it has no climate change impact when combusted and utilized in the same applications as fossil natural gas. RNG can be injected into the gas grid, used as a transportation fuel, or used for heating and electricity generation. Less common applications include utilizing RNG to produce chemicals, such as methanol, dimethyl ether, and ammonia. The GHG impact should be quantified before committing to RNG. This study quantifies the potential production of biogas (i.e., the precursor to RNG) and RNG from agricultural and waste sources in New York State (NYS). It is unique because it is the first study to provide this analysis. The results showed that only about 10% of the state’s resources are used to generate biogas, of which a small fraction is processed to RNG on the only two operational RNG facilities in the state. The impact of incorporating a second renewable substitute for fossil natural gas, “green” hydrogen, is also analyzed. It revealed that injecting RNG and “green” hydrogen gas into the pipeline system can reduce up to 20% of the state’s carbon emissions resulting from fossil natural gas usage, which is a significant GHG reduction. Policy analysis for NYS shows that several state and federal policies support RNG production. However, the value of RNG can be increased 10-fold by applying a similar incentive policy to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

Funding source: National Grid‐US, through funding of the Stony Brook University’s Institute of Gas Innovation and Technology (I‐GIT).
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United States
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/content/journal2298
2021-06-25
2021-10-24
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journal2298
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