Renewable Gas / Bio Gas

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), also known as bio-methane or biogas, is pipeline quality gas derived from biomass that is fully interchangeable with natural gas. The future natural gas network could include renewable gas from dairy farms, waste water treatment plants, landfills, wood waste and food waste plants.

In the Northeast, National Grid has been an active proponent for several years of incorporating biogas into the natural gas system. In a position paper a few years ago, National Grid observed that "the biggest driver of renewable gas is GHG reduction, but what makes renewable gas more compelling is that it also enhances diversity of supply while providing a solution for using local waste resources to produce renewable energy."

Source: National Grid

As one example of an interesting current project, in November 2017 Middlebury College announced an initiative to significantly reduce its carbon footprint thanks to an innovative "Renewable Natural Gas" partnership with Goodrich Family Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley, MA, and Vermont Gas. Under the terms of a recently signed agreement, Vanguard Renewables will construct, own, and operate a facility at Goodrich Family Farm that will combine cow manure and food waste to produce Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Gas produced by the Farm Powered* anaerobic digester will travel by pipeline to Middlebury College's main power plant. Middlebury has agreed to purchase the bulk of the facility's output. Once permits are in place, Vanguard will begin construction on the digester and Vermont Gas will start work on a 5-mile pipeline to connect the farm with the company's pipeline network in Addison County.

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that "like conventional natural gas, RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). RNG qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard."

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) notes that "Bio-methane and liquid biofuels provide an opportunity to supply affordable, clean, domestically-sourced energy to U.S. and global energy customers. These renewable energy sources can help companies comply with renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements, low carbon fuel standards, and other policy-driven efforts intended to promote the use of renewable and sustainable energy resources for power generation, transportation, and other end use market applications."