ST. LOUIS— A new partnership between Smithfield Foods Inc. and Roeslein Alternative Energy plans to convert manure collected on Smithfield’s Missouri hog farms and make it into renewable natural gas (RNG). Once the joint venture is complete, the company-owned finishing farms will produce 1.3 million dekatherms of RNG annually, which is the equivalent to eliminating 130,000 gasoline vehicles.

“This joint venture represents our continued commitment to doing business in a way that is good for our planet and its people,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods. “This innovative collaboration creates value for our company and our partners and benefits the environment as we work to feed the world’s growing population.”

The manure-to-energy project will be implemented in nine Smithfield farms in northern Missouri. The two companies will install and utilize infrastructure on farms to capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into pipeline-quality natural gas, which will be distributed to RNG markets across the country.

The biogas created by Monarch Bioenergy, a partner with RAE, is transported through a gas gathering network and purified in a centrally located gas cleaning system designed and installed by RAE. This project produces biogas that has received the lowest carbon intensity score ever recorded according to the news release. Biogas with low carbon intensity reduces greenhouse gas emissions and achieves air quality benefits.  

The project also helps the Missouri’s natural environment by using harvested prairie plants to create biomass for RNG production while also providing wildlife habitat for monarch butterflies.

“From their leadership in creating renewable energy and in conservation, Smithfield is changing what it means to be a food company,” said Rudi Roeslein, president of RAE. “Smithfield’s willingness to embrace the power of prairie proves the industry can play a meaningful role in seizing the economic benefits of conservation.”

Monarch Bioenergy is also part of Smithfield Renewables, Smithfield’s platform dedicated to renewable energy efforts. The company said this was part of its goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25 percent by 2025 throughout its supply chain.

During November 2018, Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy also signed a partnership  that will capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into renewable energy.