New York City Council members are pushing the city fleet to adopt biomethane, also known as renewable natural gas (RNG). In a joint letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, 12 members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus noted that RNG could be used by the city's surface transit fleet and city fleets to align with the city’s climate and clean air goals.
The council’s letter, signed by Council Member and Chair of the Council Committee on Transportation Ydanis Rodriguez, states that diesel vehicles could be converted to run on RNG, but the easiest way to transition to RNG would be running the fuel in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY), for instance, operates 42 CNG refuse trucks which would instead run on RNG.
When combined with “Near Zero” emission natural gas engines, the emissions of health-damaging street-level pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are reduced 90% below EPA requirements, according to the letter.
In addition, RNG could be generated in-house at one of the city’s 14 wastewater treatment plants or by anaerobic digestion of food waste collected by DSNY (at wastewater treatment plants or private facilities).