Global Pig Manure Problem Turns Into Renewable Electricity

An Australian company has teamed with the largest hog producer in North America to address the environmental problem of pig manure and electricity generation.

MELBOURNE, Victoria, AU, 2001-09-15 [] Renewable Energies Corporation Limited with work with Smithfield Foods to establish a pilot plant to gasify pig manure from several farms, and to generate power for the grid. The pilot plant will cost US$4 million and a further $120 million will be spent on building 14 plants of 30 megawatts each alongside Smithfield pig farms in North Carolina. Smithfield will provide pig manure free of charge after being given an ultimatum by local authorities to find a way of disposing of the waste from its piggeries. REL’s technology, which was developed by Paul Williams of New Zealand, involves gasifying organic waste and burning the resulting gases to create steam for generation. Waste steam is used in the industrial process in the pig and pork operation. The pilot project will be operational by the middle of 2002. The process involves the hog manure being dewatered to 30 percent solids at the farms by QED tangential flow separator technology, and then transported to a local central processing unit with at least one REL Gasifier unit. The gasifier will process the concentrated hog manure and ancillary feedstock such as chicken litter, to produce heat for conversion to electricity as well as produce ash suitable for sale as high value granulated fertilizer. Smithfield is the largest pork processor in the world, with annual production of six billion pounds of fresh pork and processed meats. It is also the largest hog producer in the world, with farms in North America with annual production of 13 million hogs.