By Missouri Ruralist

A special event was planned for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Ruckman Farm to mark the completion of a significant portion of the $120 million renewable natural gas initiative.

Rewnewable Natural Gas
A project in northern Missouri involves placing impermeable synthetic covers on 41 of the 88 existing manure lagoons at nine Smithfield farms. (Photo: Suparirk/Thinkstock)

The initiative, involving Roeslein Alternative Energy and Smithfield Hog Production operations in northern Missouri, is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, produce renewable natural gas, eliminate rainfall effects of treatment systems and generate additional jobs for the surrounding community.

Roeslein Alternative Energy is the owner, operator and developer of renewable energy production facilities that convert agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products. It is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Project details

The project involves placing impermeable synthetic covers on 41 of the 88 existing manure lagoons at nine Smithfield farms in northern Missouri, capturing methane from one of the largest concentrations of finishing hogs in the Midwest. The covers turn the lagoons into anaerobic digesters where as an interim step the resulting biogas has been flared.

In phase II of the project, equipment was installed to remove impurities from the biogas to create pipeline-quality renewable natural gas. As of July 1, renewable natural gas from the anaerobic digestion of hog manure has been injected into the national pipeline using an interconnect that has been installed at Buckman Farm, 2522 State Highway N, Albany Missouri. Duke Energy in North Carolina has agreed to purchase a portion of the renewable natural gas to help meet clean energy requirements for power generation.

When the project is complete, the project will produce approximately 2.2 billion cubic feet of pipeline quality renewable natural gas, or the equivalent of 17 million gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Environmental benefits

The project offers several environmental benefits, including reduced odor, less rainfall entering the lagoons and 850,000 tons of CO2 equivalent methane will be prevented from reaching the atmosphere.