By Andrew Littlefair on

Natural gas-powered vehicles have been playing an active role at U.S. airports for over two decades, with more than 40 airports across the country running their ground transportation fleets on compressed natural gas (CNG). The benefits of fueling airport transportation vehicles with natural gas are clear: lower fuel costs compared to diesel, improved public health and air quality, reduced greenhouse gas environmental impact, and increased U.S. energy independence.

An early adopter of natural gas vehicles (NGVs), the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) began transitioning its fleet away from diesel in the late 1990s. Today, 95 percent of DFW’s 317 airport vehicles are powered by CNG, including 187 shuttle buses, 120 fleet trucks and sedans, and various large service equipment vehicles. In 2016 alone, the airport reduced its petroleum use by three million gallons. Today, DFW has the distinction of being North America’s first carbon neutral airport and continues to pursue sustainability initiatives with a focus on cleaner and more cost-effective renewable fuel sources.

DFW recently partnered with Clean Energy, the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, to power the airport’s vehicle fleet with renewable natural gas (RNG).  The contract calls for Clean Energy to provide the airport with its Redeem™ brand of RNG, the first renewable and commercially available vehicle fuel made entirely from 100 percent organic waste. The use of RNG is expected to further reduce DFW fleet greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 70 percent.

RNG is pipeline quality gas that is interchangeable with fossil natural gas but is produced from biomethane (aka biogas). Biomethane is fuel produced by organic (often landfilled) waste which has decomposed under anaerobic conditions. Biomethane is then processed for use as a fully sustainable vehicle fuel.

“We applaud Dallas-Fort Worth for its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and are proud that our Redeem product helps to support that effort,” said Ashley White, director and head of corporate sustainability, Clean Energy. “Businesses and municipalities are learning that by fueling with RNG they get a cleaner fuel that is domestically produced, organically sourced, and more economical.”

In addition to the RNG fueling agreement, Clean Energy and DFW extended their long-standing partnership which began nearly 20 years ago when Clean Energy built the airport’s first fueling station which has since expanded to an additional site at the Rental Car Center. The combined stations dispense over two million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) each year.

A fleet that consumes two million GGEs of gasoline per year can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 19,400 metric tons by switching to Redeem™, which is the equivalent of taking 3,880 passenger cars off the road.

DFW is the only airport in the United States to be certified as carbon neutral and the largest airport in the world with that distinction, setting new sustainability standards by using RNG. Its buses drive more than 10,000,000 miles per year, averaging about 56,000 miles per bus, which equals driving the circumference of the earth over 400 times. The airport offers 6 shuttle services—Terminal Link, Employee, Remote, Express, TRE and RAC—covering over 20 different routes.