October 10, 2020. The non-profit Energy Vision (EV) held its annual awards event online, honoring three organizations for advancing adoption of renewable natural gas (RNG): New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port of Seattle at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and Vanguard Renewables.
RNG is a low-carbon fuel made by capturing the methane biogases emitted as food, manure, and other organic wastes decompose. It has the lowest lifecycle GHG emissions of any currently available fuel. In the U.S. 130 RNG-producing projects are operational, another 80 are under development. The Energy Vision awardees helped lead this trend toward RNG adoption.
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) committed to switching its more than 700 compressed natural gas buses from fossil gas to RNG. “That will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40,000 tons per year — the equivalent of taking 5000 cars off the road,” said Craig Cipriano, president of the MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of New York City Transit Department of Buses, as he accepted the Energy Vision award.
The Port of Seattle owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), the first airport in the U.S. to switch from natural gas to RNG to heat its terminal. SEA began purchasing RNG from Wisconsin-based US Gain on October 1 for heating buildings and powering shuttle buses. “Thanks to this RNG contract, we’re meeting the Port’s  50% [carbon emissions] reduction goal a decade early,” said Stephanie Meyn, the Port of Seattle’s Climate Program Manager, accepting the Energy Vision award.
Vanguard Renewables developed and operates six anaerobic digesters and an Organics Recycling Facility. It recently announced major partnerships with Dairy Farmers of America and Dominion Energy to build and operate a network of manure-only digesters and co-digestion facilities across many states. Through its lead investor Vision Ridge, Vanguard and partners are committing $1 billion to convert dairy manure into RNG. “Organic waste has two pathways,” said John Hanselman, Vanguard Renewables’ chair and CEO, who accepted the award. “One ends up being a dangerous GHG contributor, and the other is a pathway to renewable energy and regenerative agriculture. We are delighted to empower that second pathway.”