by Adam Voight Adam Voight

Published by Ag Pro

Written by Sara Brown

Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy have partnered in a unique cross-industry collaboration to transform manure into renewable energy.

The $250 million joint venture called Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) will produce clean renewable natural gas from hog manure. Over the next decade the investment will include 90% of Smithfield’s finishing spaces in North Carolina and Utah. In addition to these states, projects will be implemented in Virginia and have the potential for wider-scale application across the country.

“At Smithfield, we recognize true, enduring sustainability initiatives require collaboration with other proven innovators who share a similar vision,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. “Dominion Energy is one such proven innovator and we are proud to partner with them in our longstanding pursuit of renewable energy. Align RNG is part of our nationwide expansion of Smithfield Renewables, innovative projects designed to help meet our goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025.”

This announcement comes from the successful Optima KV pilot project, which is expanding to two larger farm clusters in Duplin and Sampson Counties, N.C.; Waverly, Va.; and Milford, Utah. Construction of these facilities is expected to begin in late 2018 with the first projects scheduled to be in-service in late 2019.

In addition to creating greater economic value from manure storage facilities, the project offers additional benefits:

  • Scalability that solves reliability and affordability issues associated with other forms of renewable energy (i.e. wind, solar)
  • New revenue streams for family farmers
  • Diversification of energy supplies
  • Nearly quadruples the number of manure-to-energy projects nationwide
  • Helping North Carolina, Virginia and Utah meet their own carbon reduction goals
  • Mitigation of potential environmental issues from severe rain events

Smithfield Renewables has also partnered with Roeslein Alternative Energy on biogas energy projects in Missouri to meet the goals of  reducing the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.