Chemically identical to conventional natural gas, renewable natural gas (RNG) is the purified product used as a vehicle fuel, which is produced by purifying biogas produced from decaying organic materials. Biomethane, which is another term for this processed pipeline-quality fuel, refers to purified biogas and is interchangeable with traditional natural gas but is often used in non-vehicle applications. Like conventional natural gas, RNG can be compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) for use in vehicles. Learn more about CNG and LNG.
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles. RNG is essentially biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter) that has been processed to purity standards. 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.
Biomethane, which is another term for this purified pipeline-quality fuel, refers to biogas that has also been cleaned and conditioned to remove or reduce non-methane elements. Biogas is produced from various biomass sources through a biochemical process, such as anaerobic digestion, or through thermochemical means, such as gasification. With minor cleanup, biogas can be used to generate electricity and heat and is used as a replacement for traditional natural gas to generate combined electricity and heating for power plants—not in vehicle applications.
To fuel vehicles, biogas must be processed to a higher purity standard. This process is called conditioning or upgrading, and involves the removal of water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other trace elements. The resulting RNG, or biomethane, has a higher content of methane than raw biogas, which makes it comparable to conventional natural gas and thus a suitable energy source in applications that require pipeline-quality gas, such as vehicle applications.
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