California Tackles the Messy Middle

California’s Quest for Clean Air

For decades the state of California has been plagued by smog, wildfire smoke and exhaust from vehicles, including heavy trucks. For instance, if you’ve ever hauled through Los Angeles in the daytime, you’ve encountered gridlock and thousands of idling trucks and cars going nowhere. And the air is just not healthy when you’re breathing all those exhaust fumes. Is it any wonder Californians want air they can breathe safely?

Relief From Garbage

Help is coming from a Florida landfill site in Raiford. Opal fuels has been capturing methane gas from decaying waste and using it to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to be used to power vehicles. RNG is not a hydrocarbon based fuel. Rather, it is a low carbon fuel that can be used to power trucks as a means of reducing harmful emissions.

It’s important to be able to convert methane into a safe, usable fuel. Methane is a very strong emitter of greenhouse gases which are known to be harmful to the planet and its population.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) feel methane released into the atmosphere from decaying waste is far more harmful than C02 in the air we breathe.

Reducing Harmful Emissions

A solution to the problem of CO2 emissions is to instead collect methane and fuel vehicles with it. Methane is a low carbon fuel that replaces carbon-based fuels. It’s In great supply the world over. Rotting garbage from organic waste is in landfill facilities everywhere waiting to be buried under the ground to neutralize its harmful effects on the air we breathe. But now it’s powering trucks in California.

Natural gas is proving its worth as a viable fuel option against diesel. Cummins manufactures and markets natural gas truck engines that rival diesel power. 

Converting a Truck Fleet

Young’s Commercial Transfer is a carrier of agricultural goods in California. It is currently in the process of converting its fleet of heavy trucks to use renewable natural gas as fuel. The company hopes to have 75% of its fleet running on RNG by the end of 2023.

Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) and Opal Fuels are showing off Young’s work toward helping decarbonize California. Young’s ultra-low-emissions trucks are fueled at Opal Fuels’ stations thanks to the SoCalGas’ pipeline network. 

The Cummins Westport 12L engines will provide a range of up to 600 miles which can enable the fleet to serve customers throughout the San Joaquin Valley. The use of RNG as truck fuel can save costs through generating CARB Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits and Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) for compliance.

The Messy Middle

Though RNG may not be the ultimate answer to emissions, it is a better option during what the Environmental Protection Agency calls the “Messy Middle” that is the time between now and when Battery Electric Vehicles reach widespread trucking applications.

To everyone’s health.


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