Duke Energy Announces Plan to Turn Pig Poop into Electricity

Turning pig poop into electricity? It’s what Duke Energy Corp. plans to do in North Carolina. The Charlotte based utility announced it has contracted with Carbon Cycle Energy to build a plant that will collect methane from pig and chicken waste, refine it and deliver enough to Duke Energy to generate electricity for nearly 10,000 homes a year.

The move is part of Duke Energy’s move to expand its renewable energy far beyond wind farms into a byproduct of other kinds of farms. The contract with Carbon Cycle will be for 15 years.

And pig farmers apparently like the plan. North Carolina has nearly 2,000 pork producers who collect the liquefied waste in lagoons and spray it on farm fields.

“It would be very nice for the producer to be able to find another stream of income,” said farmer Jay Sullivan who raises more than 5,000 pigletts and slaughter-ready hogs on a 900-acre farm.

As for Carbon Cycle, the firm is based in Boulder, Colorado. The firm says it will build a plant to capture methane near the livestock manure and truck or pipe the gas to a central plant that will refine it into fuel for Duke Energy to use at four power plants. Duke Energy is already burning methane from small projects. One draws the gas off the waste from mroe than 70,000 hogs on ten adjoining farms.

The biogas project isn’t something Duke Energy dreamed up on its own. North Carolina has the second largest hog population in the country and investor-owned utilities companies in the state are required by the government to fulfill 12.5 percent of energy needs using alternative energy sources in the next five years.

Read more in Fortune.



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