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The Rapid begins using RNG fuel from City of Grand Rapids' biodigester

Rapid Central Station
The Rapid
Rapid Central Station

Through a partnership with the city of Grand Rapids and DTE Energy, the Rapid says it's begun to receive green fuel for local buses.

The fuel source comes from the city’s biodigester. According the the city, the biodigesterfacility turns sludge, that’s produced from cleaning wastewater, into methane and carbon dioxide, or biogas. From there, the biogas is then converted to Renewable Natural Gas, often referred to as RNG.

In a May 5 press release, the transportation service said it started receiving the EPA-certified fuel on April 13th.

The Rapid CEO Deb Prato said, in the same release, that the partnership is a “win-win” for the bus service, the city and the region.

“We’re fueling a cleaner fleet and significantly reducing our carbon footprint. This innovative partnership represents the creativity and collaboration that is necessary to develop strategies across multiple sectors to create better outcomes for the climate and the community,” she said.

The Rapid will be able to use the RNG fuel in its fleet immediately without the need for massive infrastructure changes or investments, according to the release.

The Rapid’s fleet includes 133 buses and a majority of those vehicles will have the capacity to run fully on Renewable Natural Gas. The transportation service said Diesel buses will continue to be retired and replaced by RNG vehicles in an effort to reach zero emissions by 2035.