Dominion Energy is joining forces with US meat processing company Smithfield Foods to form a joint venture to launch projects that will capture methane emissions released from hog farms and convert them into renewable natural gas (RNG).
The joint venture, named as Align Renewable Natural Gas, will launch a total of four methane emissions capturing projects in the states of North Carolina, Virginia and Utah.
The converted RNG from the biomass from the hog farms will be used for providing residential home heating and electricity for local businesses.
The four projects, put together, will generate enough energy to power nearly 14,000 homes and offset greenhouse gas emissions that would be equivalent to taking off some 120,000 passenger vehicles from the road.
Dominion Energy chairman, president and CEO Thomas Farrell, II said: “Our companies recognize the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the future of our planet. RNG is an innovative and proven way to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture industry by converting it into clean renewable energy.
“RNG is considered carbon-negative because it captures significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than are released from its end use in homes and businesses.”
According to Dominion Energy, capturing methane emissions from hog farms will help in bringing down the use of conventionally-sourced natural gas while keeping greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. Further, the utility said that the use of RNG will help in a considerable reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and energy sectors.
The new biomass to renewable energy projects to be launched by the partners will use the anaerobic digestion technology.
The methane emissions collected from the Smithfield’s company-owned and contract hog farms will be sent to a central conditioning facility for its pipeline-quality conversion into RNG. Prior to that, the anaerobic digesters, which are essentially covered lagoons, break down the solids inside the biowaste to capture and contain the released methane gas.
Smithfield Foods president and CEO Kenneth Sullivan said: “Dominion Energy is one such proven innovator and we are proud to partner with them in our longstanding pursuit of renewable energy.
“Align RNG is part of our nationwide expansion of Smithfield Renewables, innovative projects designed to help meet our goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025.”