Smithfield Foods is the largest pig and pork producer in the world and has committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emission 25% by 2025. One way they are doing it is by turning manure into natural gas, a marketable product. Manure is carried from the pens underground to covered digesters, which create methane. The methane is then converted into natural gas. They plan to do this on all their pig farms and are contracting with other farmers to do it too.
Not only does this reduces emissions, it creates a new income stream and also saves money because there is much less pig poop leftover to dispose of.
[Renewable Natural Gas] RNG is produced from the methane generated from hog or dairy farms, landfills, wastewater treatment plants and food processing facilities. Capturing the methane from hog farms reduces the use of traditionally-sourced natural gas and keeps greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. It can be stored and delivered to homes and businesses through existing natural gas infrastructure, making it a cost-effective, renewable option.
The new joint venture will leverage Smithfield’s relationships with contract farmers, who raise and care for its hogs, and the decades the company has spent studying and perfecting the commercial viability of “manure-to-energy” projects. Using a technology known as anaerobic digestion, the projects will capture and process methane from large clusters of Smithfield’s company-owned and contract hog farms. Once collected at the farms, the natural gas will then be transported to a central conditioning facility where it will be converted into RNG.
Setting the ambitious goal to implement “manure-to-energy” projects across 90 percent of Smithfield’s hog finishing spaces in North Carolina and Utah, and nearly all Smithfield’s hog finishing spaces in Missouri over the next ten years. This timeline will aid the company in achieving—and exceeding—its 25 by ’25 commitment.
Converting existing anaerobic treatment lagoons to covered digesters or constructing new covered digesters to capture biogas, which will be transported to central processing facilities to be converted into renewable natural gas (RNG) in North Carolina, Missouri, and Utah.