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UPS makes largest Renewable Natural Gas purchase deal ever in the United States with Clean Energy Fuels

Global logistics major UPS has announced an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp to purchase 170 million (US) gallon (≈ 644 million litre) equivalents of renewable natural gas (RNG) through 2026. This is the largest commitment for use of RNG to date by any company in the United States (US), with a range of 22.5 - 25 million gallon (≈ 85.2 - 94.6 million litre) equivalents per year and an estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of over 1 million tonnes.

An UPS CNG refuelling station (photo courtesy UPS).
An UPS CNG refuelling station (photo courtesy UPS).

According to a statement, renewable natural gas (RNG) is a “key part” of UPS’s strategy to increase alternative fuel consumption to be 40 percent of total ground fuel purchases by 2025, supporting the logistics major’s efforts to reduce the absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of its ground fleet 12 percent by 2025.

The world has a trash problem. And the world has an emissions problem. Renewable natural gas, produced naturally from bio sources such as landfills and dairy farms, not only turns trash to gas, but it turns it into clean gas. Since RNG is supported by existing national infrastructure used to transport natural gas, it’s a winning solution that will help UPS to reach our ambitious sustainability goals. At the same time, we hope our unprecedented seven-year commitment serves as a catalyst for wider adoption of RNG by other companies, said Mike Casteel, UPS Director of Fleet Procurement.

UPS has used more than 28 million gallons of RNG in its ground fleet since 2014. This means the company will now be using nearly as much RNG in one year as it has used over the past five years combined. By switching from diesel fuel to RNG, UPS vehicles fueling at 18 company-owned and operated natural gas stations across 12 states will realize a significant reduction in GHG emissions, as much as 1 074 000 tonnes over the life of the agreement.

Redeem RNG

Clean Energy, co-founded by T. Boone Pickens and Clean Energy President and CEO Andrew J. Littlefair, is the exclusive provider of “Redeem” RNG, the first RNG made available in commercial quantities. According to Clean Energy, based on weighted average carbon index of Clean Energy’s fuel supply as approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Redeem RNG yields at least a 70 percent reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions when compared to conventional diesel or gasoline.

Also known as biomethane, RNG can be derived from many abundant and renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and agriculture. It is then distributed through the natural gas pipeline system, making it available for use as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).

Together, UPS and Clean Energy are moving the industry forward and toward a nation of energy independence by pushing for RNG at scale. We’re excited to deliver Redeem to a partner with a substantial alternative fleet and an ongoing commitment to RNG. We’re pleased to be able to fulfill the growing demand for RNG as more fleets seek a clean, economical alternative, said Tyler Henn, Vice President, and General Manager of Clean Energy Renewables, a division of Clean Energy.

Global g-mobility fleet

UPS drives more than 6 100 CNG and LNG vehicles which can be powered by RNG in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). More than 22 percent of the conventional diesel and gasoline fuel previously used by UPS’s ground fleet is now being replaced by alternative fuels including renewable natural gas and renewable diesel.

This is significant because of RNG’s significant reduction in lifecycle GHG emissions when compared to conventional diesel.

Since 2009, UPS has, it says, invested more than US$1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. UPS deploys the more than 10 000 vehicles in its Rolling Lab to utilize technologies that work best depending on the needs of the delivery route. This includes pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas and electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

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