BOISE – Agri Beef Co. announced the completion of a new biogas plant designed to provide energy to boilers at its Washington Beef processing plant.

The biogas plant captures methane from an anaerobic lagoon, which is part of the Washington Beef facility’s water treatment system. The biogas is used in the steam boilers reducing its use of natural gas by approximately 20 percent.

After Agri Beef acquired Washington Beef in 2003, the company began making investments in areas in and around the plant. Water treatment was identified as an area of opportunity. Washington Beef uses water for food safety systems, equipment sterilization, steam and cooling systems, among other uses.

Anaerobic lagoons naturally create methane as organic matter breaks down. In order to make use of this resource, the company added below-ground vents while trapping the gases under a specially designed cover that encapsulates the lagoon. The captured gas is then pushed through a series of pressurized containers and a storage system eventually being burned in the plant’s boilers.

“Agri Beef has a strong commitment to sustainability and good corporate citizenship,” said Jay Theiler, director of marketing, “so we didn’t need a lot of convincing to implement this project. The biogas plant is a win-win-win: it’s sustainable, it helps with odor abatement and it provides energy value.”