Published by The State Journal
Written by: Randall Lack
Element Markets Renewable Energy (EMRE) has been awarded a five-year contract by Monarch Bioenergy (Monarch) —a joint venture between Smithfield Foods, Inc. and Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE). The contract names EMRE as the exclusive marketer for the renewable natural gas (RNG) produced at Monarch’s biomethane production facilities in Northern Missouri. Monarch converts hog manure collected from Smithfield Hog Production farms in that state into RNG, while simultaneously delivering ecological services and developing wildlife habitat. Through this joint venture, all Smithfield company-owned finishing farms in Missouri will have the infrastructure to produce RNG, resulting in approximately 1.3 million dekatherms annually once completed, which is the equivalent of eliminating 130,000 gasoline vehicles from the road.
“At Smithfield, our carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts play a powerful role in helping us feed the world’s growing population in a responsible way,” said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs for Smithfield Foods. “But we know that we can’t do it alone, and we look to partner with other industry leaders, such as RAE and EMRE. This agreement is an example of how collaboration can create both business value and a more sustainable supply chain.”
EMRE has been the marketer for RAE for the past three years, and the company will continue to market the RNG to the transportation fuel markets under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). EMRE’s LCFS pathway has received a -372 Carbon Intensity Score from the California Air Resources Board, which is the lowest carbon intensity score approved by CARB to date.
Monarch’s next-generation manure-to-RNG project incorporates restorative prairie grass planting and harvesting techniques, in combination with methane captured from covered manure lagoons or digesters to create a steady supply of RNG while creating critical habitats for monarch butterflies.
“RAE has been a great partner of ours since 2016, and we are honored to be a part of their vision to take environmental sustainability to a new level. These industry-leading projects have been vital in demonstrating not only commercial success in the agricultural methane marketplace but also proving the ultra-low carbon intensity of swine manure projects under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and we are grateful to Smithfield and Roeslein Alternative Energy to have chosen us as their partner for an additional five years,” said Angela Schwarz, President and CEO, Element Markets.
“Element Markets has been a critical player in helping us realize our vision. Their expertise in RNG pathways under the RFS and the LCFS regulations, including the new swine pathway they pioneered for Smithfield’s farms in Missouri, is crucial to the economic viability of production facilities. This partnership with Monarch is going to change what is possible in this industry, and Element Markets is a vital part of the team,” said Rudi Roeslein, President, RAE.