- Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accounts for over 30% of global warming dating back to pre-industrial times
- Despite its connotations as a relatively clean fossil fuel, natural gas is 70-90% made up of methane
- A key source of greenhouse emissions in recent year has been the leakage of methane from natural gas fracking operations
- Renewable Natural Gas presents a carbon neutral alternative to natural gas, with production increasing by over 20% YoY in both, the United States and Canada over the past year
- EverGen Infrastructure Corp. has been at the forefront of the development of North America’s RNG production capacity; by early 2023, the company targets over 230 gigajoules per day of RNG production capacity
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas and major contributor to global warming, has historically borne an association with cow burps and wetlands (https://ibn.fm/qCrGW). Over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, methane has been found to account for approximately 30 percent of global warming since pre-industrial times and is currently proliferating faster than at any time since record keeping first began in the 1980s (https://ibn.fm/ks84p). In comparison, natural gas has been hailed as the potential ‘bridge’ fuel towards a greener future, with consumers pointing towards the relatively lower carbon emissions generated through the use of natural gas relative to the likes of crude oil and thermal coal. Nonetheless, and despite its greener connotations and perception as a largely benign fossil fuel, natural gas is composed of 70-90 percent methane (https://ibn.fm/zUc8X), an oft forgotten statistic by natural gas advocates.
Over the past decade, nearly two-thirds of all new gas production globally has emerged from the United States and Canada, a result of new natural gas fracking technology. A complex process entailing the injection of highly pressurized water, chemicals, and sand to create and prop open fissures for gas to flow, the United States is currently on track to produce upwards of 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day 2022 – much of it, a direct result of fracking technology. To put that figure into perspective, the United States accounted for nearly 24 percent of the globe’s total production of natural gas last year, over a third larger than that of the then second-largest producer, Russia. However, if only one percent of that natural gas production were to escape into the atmosphere during the fracking process, the relative advantages of burning natural gas over ‘dirtier’ fossil fuels is brought into question. As of 2021, the average ‘leakage rate’ of gas amongst U.S. natural gas producers languished at well over 2 percent (https://ibn.fm/9bP4F).
A study carried out by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2015 found that methane levels were unchanged for years, but increased sharply after 2006, growing by 25 million tons a year. Using satellites, NASA were able to conclude that fossil fuel production – in particular, natural gas, was responsible for between 12 and 19 million tons of this additional methane.
“Isotopic analysis of gas samples [to track methane leakages] at wellheads across a number of fracking operations could easily prove or disprove [NASA’s] hypothesis,” remarked Anthony Ingraffea, a Professor of Engineering at Cornell University. “If [NASA] is right then we know shale gas operations are making global warming worse, and upending efforts to stay well below 2C.”
British-Columbia based natural gas operator, EverGen Infrastructure (TSX.V: EVGN) (OTCQX: EVGIF) has been at the forefront of renewable natural gas production in North America, a process which has looked to harness methane as a key input with the eventual goal of manufacturing a ‘cleaner’ alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Unlike regular natural gas, RNG is not obtained from fossil resources; rather, it constitutes a carbon-neutral or even, carbon-negative fuel. Nevertheless, and despite its potential to contribute towards global carbon neutrality goals, RNG production has historically been limited given its relatively high cost and limited availability.
However, that paradigm might now be changing. In 2021, RNG production within the United States was equivalent to 660 million gallons gasoline equivalents (“GGE”), an increase of over 20 percent relative to the previous year. While that is a lot of RNG, it remains just a fraction – about 3 percent – of the total natural gas consumption within the U.S. In Canada, the pace of growth has been even faster. The Canadian Biogas Association recently revealed that the production of biogas and renewable natural gas had the potential to halve the nation’s methane emissions by as much as half as of 2030. The movement has gained further impetus with various Canadian provinces introducing mandates to boost RNG use in recent years; in 2019, Quebec mandated that its gas grid would blend a minimum of 1-percent RNG into its feedstock mix, a figure set to rise to as much as 10 percent by 2030.
EverGen Infrastructure has sought to capitalize on the move towards increased RNG production, with a publicly stated goal to own over 20 facilities across the country within five years. By early 2023 and following the conclusion of ongoing works at their Alberta-based GrowTEC operation, EverGen anticipates its production capacity to amount to upwards of 230 gigajoules per day of renewable natural gas – the equivalent of powering 100 British Columbia homes for a month.
“We are a renewable natural gas energy company. We’re a developer, owner and operator of projects that take organic waste and convert that organic waste into renewable energy in the form of renewable natural gas (‘RNG’),” stated Chase Edgelow, Co-Founder and CEO of EverGen Infrastructure Cop. “If you look back at the benefits of bringing in other sources of energy 20 years ago, there wasn’t one silver bullet for the electrical grid to be as renewable as it is today, with wind, solar and hydro. I think renewable natural gas can hold its own, and at the same time solve a massive waste problem and emissions problem from waste,” he concluded.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EverGenInfra.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to EVGIF are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EVGIF
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