To fuel North Carolina’s pork industry, the state is host to more than 9 million pigs. Turns out, that hog waste is a fuel of its own, and it’s becoming a bigger part of North Carolina’s energy portfolio. Duke Energy announced its second swine waste-to-power project in North Carolina earlier today.
Back in March, Duke Energy partnered with Carbon Cycle Energy to use captured methane gas from hog waste to generate renewable electricity. Just two months later, Duke Energy has announced its second swine waste-to-energy project. Optima KV is set to build digesters at farms in Duplin County, the heart of Smithfield Foods’ pork operations. Optima KV will capture and clean the methane gas before shipping it to Duke’s power plants. The project should be operational by next summer.
According to spokesperson Randy Wheeless, Duke Energy will have generate 0.2% of its power from swine waste by the year 2021:
"That sounds like a very small fraction, but we’re talking about a relatively new technology here. So we’re moving forward to meet that. The projects we’ve announced already will get us there, but I think we’d like to see more come on. We think it’d be good for the hog industry in North Carolina, and we think it’d be good for the electric industry to see some of these projects mature. Hopefully, the technology and the cost will come down and they’ll be more of a mainstream source of power."
The gas from both of these swine waste-to-energy projects will be used at the Sutton Combined Cycle Plant in New Hanover County, powering thousands of homes.