Dominion Energy, Smithfield Foods form manure-to-energy venture
Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods are teaming up on a venture to convert hog manure into power for homes and businesses.
The new entity, Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), will capture methane gas emissions from hog farms and convert them into renewable energy.
The projects will capture and process methane from large clusters of Smithfield-owned and contract hog farms. The program will expand a previous pilot program of Smithfield to 19 farms in Waverly, Va., to 48 farms in Duplin and Sampson counties in North Carolina and to 26 farms in Milford, Utah.
Renewable natural gas reduces methane emissions from the agricultural and energy industries by capturing methane emissions before they are released.
During the process, manure is transferred to an anaerobic digester, or “covered lagoon.” The digesters break down the solids, capturing and containing methane gas. The raw gas is then sent to a conditioning facility where it is converted into pipeline quality.
Construction is expected to begin on the facilities later this year with the first in-service by late 2019.
The companies said they will jointly invest about $250 million over the next decade on the initiative.
These first four projects are expected to create enough energy to power about 14,000 homes. They are expected to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 120,000 passenger vehicles from the road.