Renewable Natural Gas Created from Hog Manure

August 12, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

hog energy manageA lagoon cover installed at a hog production facility at Murphy Brown Missouri (pictured) is part of an $80 million renewable energy project to create renewable natural gas from hog manure.

The project is being developed and constructed by Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) in collaboration with Murphy Brown Missouri, the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods.

Crews are installing impermeable covers on 88 existing lagoons to harvest biogas, also called renewable natural gas, using anaerobic digestion technology developed and installed by RAE.

The impermeable synthetic covers turn the lagoons into anaerobic digesters, where naturally occurring microorganisms decompose the manure in an oxygen free environment. Biogas rises to the top where it will be collected and cleaned of impurities. What remains is more than 98 percent methane with approximately the same chemical composition as natural gas that can be used for vehicle fuel or injected into the natural gas grid system. The undigesteable solid residue can be used by local farmers as a natural fertilizer and the water can be safely used for irrigation.

Natural gas production is expected to begin in late 2014. The process will create several hundred million cubic feet of natural gas annually for regional distribution.

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