SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. announced on June 11 that construction began on its previously scheduled biogas gathering systems in Missouri and Utah. When completed, renewable natural gas (RNG) will be produced from the manure of the hog farms in these two states.
Each initiative is part of Smithfield Renewables, innovative projects designed to help meet the company’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025. Many of the goals were outlined in its latest sustainability report.
“By finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use existing resources to power our planet, we are playing a critical role in providing consumers with nutritious food, as well as the renewable energy to prepare it. That’s our mission at Smithfield: to produce good food the right way,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods.
At the Missouri farms, Smithfield will partner with Roeslien Alternative Energy called Monarch Bioenergy which converts manure collected into RNG while delivering ecological services and developing wildlife habitat in Missouri. The company said the project will produce enough renewable energy to power around 15,400 homes.
The progress in Utah begins around a low-pressure biogas transmission line that will connect “manure-to-energy” projects on hog farms to a multistate biogas gathering system. The interstate system includes touchpoints in California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, transporting gas to viable renewable energy markets to power homes, businesses, and transportation vehicles.
Smithfield said that 26 hog farms in Utah will be equipped with renewable energy technology once construction is finished. After the farms are operational, the project will create enough RNG to power 4,000 homes each year.
“We are making significant progress in our renewable energy efforts—an area where we have become a prominent leader after more than a decade of research, investment, and projects,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer. “The ability to reduce GHG emissions by producing clean RNG from hog manure is truly revolutionary. Our work and the partnerships we have established provide a highly innovative and transferrable model of sustainability best practices.”
The company said that within 10 years, Smithfield will implement “manure-to-energy” projects in 90 percent of its hog finishing spaces in North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, and nearly all of Smithfield’s hog finishing spaces in Missouri.