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UPS to purchase 10 million gallon equivalents a year of renewable natural gas from Big Ox Energy; largest RNG commitment to date

UPS announced an agreement with Big Ox Energy (a wholly owned subsidiary of Environmental Energy Capital LLC) to purchase 10 million gallon equivalents of renewable natural gas (RNG) per year. This is the largest investment in RNG to date for the company, and the agreement runs through 2024. Use of RNG yields up to a 90% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional diesel.

In addition to the agreement with Big Ox, UPS signed a five-year agreement earlier this year with AMP energy for 1.5 million gallon equivalents of RNG per year from the Fair Oaks dairy farm in Indiana. The RNG agreements will help UPS reach a key sustainability goal: 40% of all ground transportation fleet fuel from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel by 2025.

Natural gas is a proven alternative fuel to gasoline and diesel and is a key building block for our goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our ground fleet. These agreements add significantly to our investment in the use of RNG and will help put us on track to nearly triple our annual use of RNG. They are also a direct reflection of our ongoing commitment to help shape the renewable natural gas industry.

—Mike Casteel, UPS director of fleet procurement

UPS fueling stations in Lexington, Ky.; Louisville, Ky.; New Stanton, Pa.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; West Columbia, S.C.; Horsham, Pa. and Doraville, Ga. will use the Bix Ox RNG to fuel UPS delivery vehicles and tractors.

RNG, also known as biomethane, can be derived from many abundant and renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment 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).

UPS used 61 million gallons of natural gas in its ground fleet in 2016, which included 4.6 million gallons of RNG. The company is on track to use 14 million gallons of RNG in 2017.

UPS drives more than 5,200 CNG and LNG vehicles in its fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Earlier this year, UPS announced a more than $90-million investment in natural gas vehicles and infrastructure. This investment included an additional six compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations, 390 new CNG tractors and terminal trucks, and 250 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles.

Since 2009, UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. UPS deploys the more than 8,500 vehicles in its Rolling Lab to utilize technologies that work best depending on the needs of the delivery route.

Big Ox Energy converts organic waste from municipal waste water facilities, agriculture, and food processing into pipeline-grade renewable natural gas.



We're told nothing about what this costs.  If it requires subsidies to be profitable (I'm sure it does), it is greenwashing, not a solution.  A carbon tax instead of a subsidy would at least make it not a drain on the treasury.

14.6 million gallons-equivalent in a year compared to 9.317 million bbl/d of motor gasoline (150 billion gallons! OK, 135 billion gallons of petroleum given that it's E10) is a very small drop in a very big bucket.


This report describes a manure digester/generator system installed at a dairy farm in 1998 at a cost of $355,000. According to the report the digester produced more than 70,000 cubic feet per day(76 gj or 72.5 mmbtu) to supply a 135 kw generator. The report claims that "Payback of 5 years on investment is possible". It seems possible.

The current argument seems to be that the less money that flows into the treasury the more the economy will be stimulated so isn't it possible that draining a bit might help too?


Well, it includes municipal waste, so maybe its a extra source of revenue based on its treatment, thus subsidizing the overall cost.

Take the waste in at a cost, and treat it, generating another thing to sell. I could see this being profitable for big ox on thier own. But likely they received grants and subsidies to start this up, should be viable indefinitely, waste streams will only adapt, never fully go away.

Imagine, profitable energy generation from municipal waste everywhere possible. Methane or even liquid alternatives could come in to play, drastically reducing the need to harvest from the earth so many resources, while possibly saving money overall.

Thomas Lankester

Natural gas, by definition, is a fossil fuel (formed naturally by organic matter decomposition and diagenesis over millennia to millions of years). So 'RNG' is an oxymoron on human timescales.
This is referring to the artificial generation of biomethane.

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