Published by Brownfield Ag News for America

Written by: Julie Harker

Smithfield Foods is a partner in making natural gas out of hog manure. Methane gas is being captured by Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) at Smithfield hog production facilities in North Missouri – which is purified and sold as renewable natural gas (RNG) to the California market. Rudi Roeslein, CEO of the energy company, tells Brownfield Ag News it’s sold on the federal market through an EPA program, “Called the D3 RIN which tries to come up with material that’s produced from cellulose and manure is actually, in 2015, qualified as a cellulosic product of renewable natural gas.”

Kraig Westerbeek, Smithfield’s Director of Renewables, tells Brownfield the project fits in well with their sustainability plans, “Capturing that leftover energy that’s already been bought and paid for in the form of corn and making it into renewable energy makes a lot of sense.”

The joint venture is called Monarch Bioenergy. They say the natural gas produced has achieved the lowest Carbon Intensity score ever certified for natural gas.

There are nine Smithfield hog farms in North Missouri and three are generating gas, with the goal of all the farms generating the gas. The total estimated hog count is 2-million each year across the nine farms.

Smithfield and RAE are also partners on turning prairie grasses into renewable natural gas, which is phase two of their partnership.

Interview with Rudi Roeslein, RAE (Brownfield Ag News)
Interview with Kraig Westerbeek, Smithfield (Brownfield Ag News)