Rogue Disposal converts methane to NG for their trash trucks. They tout this as an advantage or positive….Is it? [Alan]
The singular exception that I know to the above argument regarding natural gas is when that gas is generated from biomass using anaerobic digestion technology. This technology essentially involves harnessing the natural decay process – which produces methane (remember cow belches and farts?). Since the process requires an oxygen-free air-tight incubator, the process presumably is leak-free. Rogue Disposal then compresses this gas – to produce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) not to be confused with LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas generally produced for long-distance shipping – recall that this is what the Jordan Cove proposal is all about where natural gas – not LNG – arrives through a pipeline and is liquefied at the plant).
While this CNG does not suffer from the leakage that fracked or conventionally extracted natural gas suffers, it is still compressed, so may still be susceptible to some leakage. It also still emits carbon dioxide when combusted to generate power (or energy). The downside of CNG is that inevitable CO2 leakage and the fact that investing in CNG potentially involves committing to a long-term dependency in natural gas. Rogue Disposal has its own supply via the Dry Creek Landfill Waste Disposal plant that it owns. However, we are somewhat concerned by the RVTD commitment to CNG since that also relies on the Rogue Disposal CNG supply, and there may simply not be enough. Should that happen, RVTD will be locked into buying natural gas on the open market, and this natural gas will almost certainly be shale-fracked. However, in defense of RVTD for their decision to buy a fleet of CNG buses rather than electric buses, they are owners of a federal grant dating several years back (before we knew about the natural gas fugitive emissions problem). Should they switch to electric buses, they would have to repay that grant. Regrettably, decisions are never as easy as we’d like them to be.