30 September 2010
Durham, North Carolina based Duke University, and Duke Energy, a U.S. based energy supplier are to join forces for a pilot project that seeks to turn hog waste into energy.
A prototype system is being built at the Loyd Ray Farms near Yadkinville, N.C. Ground for the project was broken Sept. 27, and the project is expected to be online by February 2011.
Project backers hope the system will serve as a model for other hog farm operators.
The $1.08 million project is being funded in part by $500,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of the Environment. Research and development has been underway for more than two years.
The system is intended to turn a waste lagoon into a methane gas generator that will power a turbine and generate electricity.
"Building a better understanding of this technology allows us to determine how we can bring this type of renewable energy to our customers in a cost-effective way and meet our requirements under North Carolina's renewable energy portfolio standard," said Emily Felt, director of Renewable Strategy and Compliance at Duke Energy.
Utilities are under legislative mandate to generate more power from renewable sources.
Duke University says the project could help it achieve 'carbon-neutral' status by 2024.The energy project will augment the farm's current 17-million gallon lagoon.