Review of the Impact of Natural Gas Based Transportation Fuels on Air Quality

Cite As:
Ayalon Ofira, Lev-On Miriam, Lev-On Perry, Shapira Naama. Review of the Impact of Natural Gas Based Transportation Fuels on Air Quality Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2021.


As Israel attempts to diversify its energy sources, its use of natural gas is rapidly expanding, taking advantage of discovered resources off Israel’s shores in the Eastern Mediterranean. Due to expansion of offshore operations and broader introduction of natural gas into the Israeli economy, emissions of associated air pollutants along with other potential environmental and public health impacts, are coming under increasing scrutiny.
The research goals include:
• Assembly of the most recent information;
• Assessment of air pollutants emissions from the Well-to-Tank (WTT) segments of the natural gas supply chain;
• Estimation of air pollutants emissions from select natural gas-based transportation fuels;
• Compilation of technology options and policy measures for controlling emissions.

The study is organized in five chapters, including
(1) Introduction,
(2) Atmospheric Emissions from the Natural Gas Supply Chain,
(3) Estimation of Emissions from the Natural Gas Sector in Israel,
(4) Emissions Management and Control, and
(5) Conclusions and Recommendations for Implementation in Israel.

The study’s overarching goal is to provide an indication of the potential air quality impact of producing natural gas and converting it to transportation fuels associated with compressed natural gas (CNG) or electricity used for charging electric vehicles.
Although natural gas sources contribute to emissions of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) the emphasis here is on local air pollutants (NMVOC, NOx, CO) which are precursors to the formation of ground level ozone and include air toxics (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylenes and more) that are part of the NMVOC fraction.
For CNG-fueled vehicles the emissions associated with vehicle use (Tank-to-Wheel – TTW), dominate the life cycle impacts. In the WTT segment, CNG-fueled vehicles have greater GHG, NOx, SOx and CO emissions than gasoline and lower NMVOC and PM emissions. The emissions are predominately the result of the production and processing phases, with a smaller fraction due to natural gas transmission, compression and fuel dispensing.
Although electric vehicles are virtually emission-free during operation, the incremental emissions associated with the generation of additional electricity may lead to emissions increase. Based on Ministry of Energy’s projections of the additional natural gas consumptions the emissions from the fuel production segments are expected to increase for NOx, NMVOC, BTEX and Formaldehyde.

The authors recommend that an integrated approach should be applied to controlling the emissions from the natural gas industry (upstream, transmission and downstream use) within the context of a robust air quality management system. It addresses emissions avoidance and minimization, monitoring, reporting, and compliance tracking.
A list of specific recommendations (Table 24, Chapter 5) is provided emphasizing the need to anchor requirements in regulations and permits, improve compliance tracking, enhance transparency, and provide for a more robust enforcement system.

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