Exploring opportunities for waste-to-energy as a climate strategy in the U.S.
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from organic waste is an emerging strategy that businesses, states, and municipalities in the United States are pursuing to make use of waste-derived methane and displace fossil fuel use in transportation, buildings, and other sectors. RNG (also known as biomethane or upgraded biogas) may be an effective, complimentary climate strategy, particularly in cases where it is derived from wastes and its use reduces methane emissions to the atmosphere.
In 2018, WRI published a working paper entitled “The Production and Use of Renewable Natural Gas as a Climate Strategy in the United States.” This paper explores the net GHG impacts of RNG when used as a vehicle fuel, identifying promising types of projects and pathways for deployment. In 2020, WRI launched a follow-up paper providing guidance for state policymakers detailing how to evaluate resource potential, which deployment opportunities and policy options to consider, and when RNG may effectively contribute to climate goals.