The Rising Demand for RNG: How Businesses Can Lower Emissions Today

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2024

We live in a world where finding renewable energy solutions is paramount to a more sustainable future. Renewable natural gas has emerged as a top solution, as it can be used as a replacement for conventional natural gas. As we adopt innovative technologies and enhance sustainability efforts, global demand continues to grow and the market for RNG is expected to surge by as much as 19% each year through 2031.1 This growth highlights the pivotal role RNG has played and will continue to play in our energy future.


4-(1).pngThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified the transportation sector as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 28%.2 RNG has been a key solution because it can be used as a transportation fuel and displaces the need for diesel and reduces GHG emissions by around 90%.3 The benefits don’t stop at fleet vehicles; the number of refuse and recycling trucks, along with public transit buses, using RNG as a fuel source continues to grow.

As of 2022, there were over 278 million personal and commercial vehicles registered to driver in the U.S.4 Over 8 million of these are thought to be fleet vehicles used for business processes, such as deliveries.5 Using RNG instead of diesel to power these vehicles leads to a decrease in companies’ Scope 1 emissions. Thanks to new technology like Cummins’ X15N engine6, using RNG in heavy-duty transportation is becoming increasingly widespread.

Voluntary Market

In 2021, the U.S. set a goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.8 Many corporations are opting to use RNG as a primary source of energy for their day-to-day operations, such as heating the office building or powering manufacturing processes, like kilns and dryers, in order to meet their own Environmental, Social and Governance goals and while supporting the U.S. goals. Nearly half of all Fortune 500 companies have committed to at least one major climate initiative.9 By integrating RNG into their energy strategies, these companies are taking significant steps toward achieving sustainability targets and contributing to larger environmental efforts.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has mandated that companies disclose their efforts to mitigate their environmental risks and share what progress they make toward mitigation as well. When companies use RNG, they have a tangible and measurable way of contributing to sustainability goals while demonstrating their commitment to taking steps toward carbon neutrality. 

In addition to corporations, utilities have also upped their commitment to using RNG, largely thanks to renewable portfolio standards (RPS) being introduced in some states. California, for instance, has set a target requiring utilities to integrate RNG for 12% of their gas supply by 2030 in order to reduce carbon emissions.10 Similarly, Oregon’s RPS incentivizes utilities to include RNG for up to 30% of their gas supply by 2045-2050 so as to emphasize the state’s long-term commitment to sustainability.11 According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have some form of RPS in place, and another three states have voluntary renewable energy targets.12 These standards not only promote environmental stewardship, they also bolster the reliability of RNG as a cleaner alternative fuel as they can power everyday appliances like gas stoves, furnaces and water heaters just like conventional natural gas does. As more states follow suit with their own versions of RPS initiatives, integrating RNG into utility pipelines will play a significant role in driving and encouraging its use nationwide. 

Growing Diversity of Applications

Demand for electricity is growing at an unprecedented rate, thanks to the growing population and new forms of technology. According to Utility Dive, forecasted demand for electricity in the U.S. in the next five years jumped 81%.13 This surge in the forecast comes from several factors. Data centers are popping up all over the country. The market for electric vehicles continues to increase; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates there could be 30-42 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.14 Internet of Things (IoT) device use is at an all-time high, as World Economic Forum states that as of 2022, there were more than 8.58 billion mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, compared to a global population of what was then 7.95 billion.15 Transforma Insights forecasts there are more than 17 billion IoT devices in use this year.16 As the number of ways we can use electricity and the population using electricity continues to grow, we can expect demand to continue its trend upward. RNG and biogas can both be used to create electricity and satisfy this growing demand, which means we can enhance energy security while reducing our reliance on conventional natural gas. 

In addition to electricity, RNG can also be used as a feedstock for other renewable fuels and resources such as aviation fuel, hydrogen, methanol and ammonia.

Typical aviation fuels are almost entirely petroleum-based and have a higher carbon intensity score. RNG can be used as a feedstock for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) which is approved for use when blended with petroleum-derived jet fuel. One airline found that SAF use has led to an 85% emission reduction compared to conventional jet fuel use.17

Hydrogen energy, while still being developed, holds promise as another alternative fuel for transportation purposes. When renewable energy such as RNG is used in the production process it generates blue hydrogen. While its potential as a transportation fuel is still being studied, hydrogen is commonly used for food, drug and refinery production, and is a source of heat and power for industrial applications including metal fabrication and thermal processing.

Renewable methanol, also referred to as bio-methanol or green methanol, can be created using renewable feedstocks or carbon dioxide from renewable energy sources. It is often used to create other chemicals such as formaldehyde and some plastics but can also be used in internal combustion engines and hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. 

Ammonia is created by converting RNG to hydrogen, and then pairing the hydrogen with nitrogen. Ammonia has a range of uses as well, including refrigerant gas and purifying water supplies. Eighty percent of ammonia created by industry is used as a fertilizer for crops.18 

By working with Kinder Morgan RNG, your company will have a turnkey solution to its RNG needs while contributing to a cleaner future. We will work with your organization to tailor a solution that helps you achieve your sustainability goals by decarbonizing your fleet and operations.

Landfill owners and operators – your landfill can contribute to a more sustainable future too. Learn more about how your landfill can help satisfy the growing demand for RNG while decreasing its own emissions, too

1. Wood Mackenzie
2. Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions | US EPA
3. UCR RNG White Paper
4. Car Ownership Statistics 2024 – Forbes Advisor
5. United States of America | Global Fleet
6. Cummins to launch big bore natural gas engine (
7. Renewable Natural Gas Infographics: View at RNG Coalition — The Coalition For Renewable Natural Gas
8. FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies | The White House
9. Nearly Half of Fortune 500 Companies Engaged in Major Climate Initiatives – David Gardiner and Associates
10. California Natural Gas Utilities Required by 2030 to Supply 12% RNG (
11. OR SB 98: New Renewable Natural Gas Targets (
12. State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals (
13. US electricity load growth forecast jumps 81% led by data centers, industry: Grid Strategies | Utility Dive
14. EVI-Pro: Electric Vehicle Infrastructure – Projection Tool | Transportation and Mobility Research | NREL
15. There are now more mobile phones than people in the world | World Economic Forum (
16. Current IoT Forecast Highlights - Transforma Insights
17. Renewable Natural Gas Poised To Propel Green Transition in Maritime and Aviation Sectors | Guidehouse
18. Ammonia in agriculture: The engine of plant growth (
Related Categories: