CNG, LNG, RNG, EV, Hydrogen, Fuel agnostic, what is your fuel of choice these days? Mine is still coffee and some jerky but, hey, that’s just me.
The development of alternative or “green” fuels is interesting from a couple of perspectives. First, who is going to win and how are they jockeying for position? Secondly, how will that “solution” win the race, and do they need to?
What I mean is that it would seem that for at least the foreseeable future we will have several options. I am not so sure that actually helps matters. I mean free competition is usually the answer for me and private enterprise almost always saves the day. However…
Alternative or green fuels are not a new luxury we are being pushed to feel like we need. This is not Steve Jobs creating another smartphone for us to become dependent on. We have to do this. Even if you are one of those deniers of global warming or how greenhouse gas impacts us (you know like the flat earthers) you have to understand that there is a limited supply of fossil fuels.
Maybe you’re hoping we can mine the moon and mars. Hmm…scouring the universe and destroying civilizations for energy resources. I seem to remember that movie.
Nikola is back in the news and this time they are teaming up with Keystone Natural Gas Synthesis to produce green hydrogen.
But, I was told hydrogen is a green fuel! That’s cute, but no, it isn’t. Not yet at least.
As reported in Fleet Owner, the two are partnering on a project that will produce low-carbon hydrogen fuel and store the carbon emitted during production. You see, hydrogen is a great fuel, potentially. It is not totally green and the production method is not much better than diesel, if at all.
So what about one of the “NG”s” R, L, or C? RNG is the one. Renewable Natural Gas is actually negative carbon neutral as it burns the gasses from landfills, etc…
Sightline Institute tells us that this is potentially a line of bullshit as well. Sure, capturing RNG prevents the methane from manure ponds (yep, it’s a thing) and landfills from being released into the atmosphere where it speeds global warming, but, as a fuel, it is not as green as we might think.
RNG is also not that abundant. Some reports I have heard like in this episode of The Sustainiacs, there is only enough supply to power around 300,000 vehicles annually. This lack of supply would create a need to commercially produce this energy source, which would then be in the same boat as hydrogen; not so green.
BEVs or Battery Electric Vehicles must be the answer! Probably not, and they are certainly not even close to green. CNBC reports that the answer is, “yes, but it’s complicated.”
That means no. From the source of electricity to the incredibly negative impacts of mining the metals for the batteries it is not the answer today or any time in the near future. We haven’t even touched on the fact that our grid is not even remotely capable of handling the current EV mandates.
At least we get to dispose of the toxic batteries once they’re past their useful life.
Solar! Nope, do a search for blade landfills and see what you get.
So, what are you saying Mr. The Dude?
Simply that you need to think circularity when looking for solutions. Our linear thought process and economic system are the root causes. They will also be the demise of any attempt we make.
Green is not enough. Sustainable, Circular, Renewable each carry much more importance as we search for the alternative energy solution(s) of tomorrow.
Peace and love