The Potential to Build Current Natural Gas Infrastructure to Accommodate the Future Conversion to Near-Zero Transportation Technology

Principal Investigator: Amy Jaffe | University of California, Davis
Co-Principal Investigator(s): Thomas Durbin | University of California, Riverside; Georgios Karavalakis | University of California, Riverside
Research Team: Rosa Dominguez-Faus, Joan Ogden, Nathan Parker, Daniel Scheitrum, Yueyue Fan, Zane McDonald, Justin Wilcock, Marshall Miller, Christopher Yang | University of California, Davis

The emergence of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive fuel in the United States has highlighted the possibility that natural gas could play a significant role in the transition to low carbon fuels. The emergence of new interest in investment in natural gas fueling infrastructure in California raises the question regarding whether natural gas infrastructure could become stranded by the ultimate shift to lower carbon fuels or whether the natural gas infrastructure system offers synergies that could potentially facilitate speedier adoption of lower carbon fuels. Industry has advocated that overlap of key natural gas infrastructure will lower transition costs and provide consumers with an optimal mix of fuels as the state’s commercial vehicle stock is replaced with alternative vehicles over time.

This report examines the precise natural gas infrastructure that is economically and technologically synergistic for both natural gas and renewable natural gas in the near-term, and alternative fuels like renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen in the long term. In particular, the researchers examine optimum paths for developing infrastructure in the near-term that will accommodate alternative fuels once they become available at the commercial scale.

View the California Air Resources Board Research Seminar on “The Feasibility of Renewable Natural Gas as a Large-Scale, Low Carbon Substitute”

Status: Completed
Funding: $250,000
Sponsors: CARB, UCD-ARB

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