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Smithfield Foods completes ‘manure-to-energy’ project in US

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US pork processor Smithfield Foods has completed a major ‘manure-to-energy’ project in Missouri.

The firm has constructed a pipeline from one of its pig farms in the state to the natural gas mainline. It connects a low-pressure natural gas transmission with the city of Milan’s pipeline, allowing renewable natural gas produced at the farm to be directly injected into the line.

The project is part of Smithfield Renewables’ nationwide expansion to implement manure-to-energy projects across 90% of its pig farms in North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Missouri over the next 10 years. Smithfield hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% by 2025.

Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs, said: “As we work to expand our ‘manure-to-energy’ projects nationwide, it is inspiring to witness the fruition of our renewable energy efforts in Missouri.

“We are proud that these efforts allow the locations we call home to contribute to a sustainable energy future while curbing our carbon footprint.”

Manure-to-waste is just one of the ways Smithfield has ramped up its carbon reduction efforts in recent years. In early 2019, the firm installed infrastructure to capture methane emissions from its northern Missouri farms and convert them into pipeline-quality gas. This initiative, in partnership with Roeslin Alternative Energy, has the potential to produce 1.3 million dekatherms of renewable natural gas annually, equivalent to taking 130,000 petrol vehicles off the road.