Understanding Renewable Natural Gas: Is It Actually Renewable?

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renewable natural gas

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The green revolution is influencing sustainable changes in different industries. One of the most challenging transitions is occurring in the energy sector. Power companies are working to meet consumers’ demands by developing low-emission energy sources.

Minimizing the sector’s reliance on fossil fuels can impact the economy, politics and the environment. Some power companies are transitioning from high-emission energy sources using renewable natural gas. However, environmentalists are skeptical of the power supply’s sustainability.


Why Do We Need Alternative Energy Sources?

The global temperature has risen by 0.14 F each decade since 1880. Over the past 40 years, the planet’s temperature increased by 0.32° F every 10 years. The rate of global heating is speeding up from human interference.

Greenhouse gas emissions directly cause climate change. They limit the planet’s ability to maintain life-sufficient temperatures as they accumulate in the atmosphere. 

The highest number of emissions derive from the transportation sector. About 29% of carbon emissions come from personal and commercial vehicles and air travel. 

Another contributing factor to climate change is electricity production. Ecological engineers developed renewable energy technologies to minimize electricity-related emissions. The development of electric vehicles allows individuals to power their cars with emission-free energy. 

Scientists are searching for electricity production sources outside of solar and wind power. They are now using biomethane and other forms of biogas to generate clean energy.


What Is Renewable Natural Gas?

Renewable natural gas derives from organic materials instead of fossil fuels. Production professionals use various sources to generate sustainable natural gas.

They convert landfill waste, animal manure, wastewater and food scraps into energy using bacteria.

The waste goes through an anaerobic digestion process to convert the organic materials into biogas. Professionals are using the digestion process to develop power because the bacteria consume methane and reduce emissions.

Natural gas has a lower carbon intensity compared to fossil fuels. Environmentalists are concerned with the long-term ecological impacts because it still produces a portion of greenhouse gasses. Some of the methane remaining in renewable natural gas burns as carbon dioxide.

When the emissions reach the atmosphere, they cause environmental degradation because of their high potency. Many individuals opt for geothermal energy sources to power their home appliances and shrink their carbon footprints. Another reason environmentalists target renewable gas is its possible connection to greenwashing.


Is Renewable Natural Gas Actually Renewable?

sustainable natural gas

Individuals are skeptical of renewable natural gas’s sustainability. Some consumers struggle to understand how the power source is renewable. To explore the energy supply’s sustainability, individuals must assess the gas’s origin.

Biogas from livestock manure is renewable because animals are part of the ecosystem, and they constantly regenerate manure. While the resource is renewable, it has sustainability limitations. Manure-derived natural gas relies on animals that produce methane emissions.

Solely relying on farm animals for power can influence higher agricultural pollution. Ecologists are exploring the sustainability challenges surrounding renewable natural gas and brainstorming solutions.  


Making Renewable Natural Gas More Sustainable

Renewable gas production facilities and farms can use carbon capturing and storage (CCS) systems to minimize atmospheric emissions. The technology manages controlled environments and absorbs toxins. Most designs transfer the emissions beneath Earth’s surface for natural processing.

When professionals store emissions in the soil, plants absorb the contaminants and use them for photosynthesis. Vegetation effectively absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it into pure oxygen.


Future Biogas Technology

Some researchers are exploring the ecological effects of renewable natural gas production using dry fermentation. They hope the manufacturing process will minimize emissions and enhance the energy sector’s sustainability. Another advancement in the field is renewable natural gas-powered vehicles, which California is using to develop a low-emission fleet. 

Whatever the future holds, it’s obvious that more of an emphasis is being placed on renewable energy sources. Some tweaks may be needed, but professionals are on the right track.

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    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

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