Biomethane is a renewable natural gas produced from decaying organic matter such as waste water treatment sludge, food waste, animal manures, landfill gas, dead trees, and municipal solid waste through a process called anaerobic digestion.
Combining biomethane and natural gas technology is an effective way of supporting the state’s clean air and climate change goals. Use of biomethane to fuel natural gas trucks with certain emissions-reducing technologies can reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions to levels near those of zero-emission battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
Through the Clean Transportation Program (formerly known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program), the California Energy Commission is supporting the production of sustainable, low-carbon biomethane for transportation use within California. The program is also supporting development and demonstration of the technologies that use this fuel to power vehicles.
Benefits of Biomethane
- Has lowest greenhouse gas emissions of alternative fuels readily available in California.
- Can be produced from all types of organic waste, food processing waste and woody biomass.
- Can provide significant reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) when used with low NOx natural gas engines.
- Can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 to 70 percent on average, and up to 125 percent compared to petroleum-based fuels.
- Can be used in the rapidly expanding fleet of medium-duty and heavy-duty natural gas trucks, particularly in the sectors of refuse collection, public transit, and the transport of goods over short distances at the state’s port.