The short answer would be – Yes. Here’s why:
Natural gas but also biomethane and synthetic methane contain virtually no particulate matter (PM) and have low emission levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
What are particulate matters (PM)?
Also called particle pollution – the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are too small to be easily seen so they can only be detected using an microscope. Whether they can or cannot be seen, in both cases they affect your health.
What are nitrogen oxides (NOx)?
Most particles form in the atmosphere as a result of complex reactions of chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are pollutants emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles. Nitrogen dioxide has an odour, and is an acidic and highly corrosive gas that can affect our health and environment. Nitrogen oxides are critical components of photochemical smog. They produce the yellowish-brown colour of the smog.
Here’s what’s important: Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to the human respiratory tract and increase a person’s vulnerability to, and the severity of, respiratory infections and asthma. Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause chronic lung disease.
Back to using natural gas in transport – as said, both natural and renewable gas contain virtually no levels of PM and very low NOx thus making them ideal fuels for extensive use in urban areas.
What do we mean by “virtually none” and “low levels”?
Let’s define those specifically!
Methane as a vehicle fuel emits up to 95% less PM and up to 70% less NOx compared with the very strict European emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (Euro VI) and light-duty vehicles (Euro 6) using petrol or diesel.
Exhaust gases from natural gas engines are also free of other harmful and carcinogenic pollutants.
CNG and LNG technologies are mature, and aftertreatment of the exhaust gases coming from the engine mostly rely on three-way-catalyst.
The combination of clean combustion and simple, reliable aftertreatment technologies translate into an easy approach to guarantee the lowest emissions, even under the most severe driving conditions.