The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) asked local legislators to approve a pilot programme in which pig waste is converted to electricity.
Raleigh-based utility Progress Energy supported the proposal, saying that it would participate if such a programme is sanctioned.
Technology to capture methane gas from farms’ anaerobic treatment system and convert it into electricity was developed by Smithfield Foods’ livestock-production subsidiary Murphy-Brown.
Pig farms across the state are supposed to participate in the initiative to meet the energy needs of consumers statewide. The programme’s goal is to help North Carolina’s pork industry determine whether this technology of converting pig waste to electricity will be economically feasible long-term.
“This pilot programme will help us see if it will be possible for producers to sell energy at a rate that allows them to justify the capital investment and cover the operating expenses for these projects,” said R.C. Hunt, NCPC president.
If the programme’s wheels will be set in motion, Progress Energy would purchase the electricity generated at about $0.18 per kilowatt hour, much more than the approximately $0.05 per hour usually paid.
The proposal calls for a seven-year pilot programme in which Progress Energy would commence its electricity purchase no later than 2012.
Besides Iowa and Minnesota, North Carolina is one of the most important pig producing states in the US.
â€¢ North Carolina Pork Council
â€¢ Progress Energy
â€¢ Smithfield Foods
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