Smithfield Foods Now Producing Renewable Natural Gas from Wastewater
Smithfield Foods, Inc., in partnership with Duke Energy and OptimaBio, LLC, is now producing renewable natural gas (RNG) from the wastewater treatment system at its Tar Heel, NC pork processing facility, which will help power more than 2,000 local homes and businesses. The three companies are utilizing the world’s largest pork processing facility to provide renewable energy to consumers while reducing their own, and the state of North Carolina’s, carbon footprint.
The $14 million project is the latest from Smithfield Renewables, Smithfield’s platform to unify and accelerate its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2025. Through partnership with Duke Energy, roughly 140,000 dekatherms of RNG per year will be transported to natural gas plants and used to generate electricity for consumers.
To date, this is one of Smithfield’s largest renewable energy projects involving wastewater, and its first in North Carolina. Smithfield also has “wastewater-to-energy” projects at its Milan, MO; Grayson, KY; and Sioux Falls, SD facilities, which are used to power their modified steam boilers.
The company’s Tar Heel, NC, project utilizes a gas upgrading and injection system operated by OptimaBio, LLC, a bioenergy project developer, which leverages the facility’s three million gallon-per-day wastewater treatment system to collect and clean biogas through an existing on-site digester and convert it into RNG.
Once converted, the RNG is injected into the Piedmont Natural Gas system, and then transported to Duke Energy to produce electricity. This project will help Duke Energy satisfy state swine waste-to-energy mandates under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard law in North Carolina. Under this law, Duke Energy must generate 0.20% of its retail sales from swine waste by 2024.
In October 2019, Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today the companies are doubling their investment in renewable natural gas (RNG) projects across the US to $500 million through 2028. This additional investment will expand their Align Renewable Natural Gas joint venture beyond its initial projects in North Carolina, Virginia, and Utah, to pursue new projects across the country, including in Arizona and California.
Original Article from Environmental Leader, Published January 8, 2020 by Emily Holbrook