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News 1149 views last update:Dec 27, 2006

Pig waste could power 90,000 homes

According to a study financed by the state's Utilities Commission, it may be possible for North Carolina pig farms to produce enough electricity to power over 90,000 homes.

North Carolina has over 6 million pigs. According to the study by LaCapra Associates, the amount of pig waste, which is able to generate methane gas, would produce an estimated 93 megawatts of power. One megawatt can serve the needs of about 1,000 homes.

Hog waste has been a contentious issue in the state, which has put a moratorium on new hog farms while it and the largest pork producers look for affordable alternatives to the open pits where the waste is now dumped.
Director of the state branch of the Sierra Club, Molly Diggins, using the waste to generate energy may be a possible alternative.

Making the proposal work could be challenging, according to Leonard Bull, deputy director of the animal waste research centre at North Carolina State University.

"There are two or three technologies which show promise," Bull said. "But the issues about connecting to the electrical grid are difficult. Becoming a power producer is a slow and laborious process."
 
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