ST. LOUIS (AP) — Developers of a renewable biogas project in
remote north-central Missouri are hoping to turn hog manure into energy.
Murphy-Brown of Missouri LLC is teaming up with Roeslein
Alternative Energy LLC on the project near Princeton, Mo., a small town in one
of the most sparsely populated areas of the state. Plans call for construction
of the $100 million project to begin in April.
Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Virginia-based Smithfield
Foods, is the world’s largest pork producer. All those hogs create plenty of
waste that developers say can be turned into a renewable energy source. The
project also will help eliminate some of the waste odor, they said, which
frequently draws complaints from those living near corporate hog farms.
“Not only does it demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the
environment and to our neighbors, but it also allows us to make facility
upgrades that are good for our employees, our animals and the continuous
improvement of our business in northern Missouri,” Murphy-Brown of Missouri
General Manager Michael Rainwater said in a statement.
Murphy-Brown operates hog farms in 12 states. It already is
among the biggest employers in north-central Missouri, with about 1,100 workers.
The company did not say how many additional jobs could be created by the biogas
Biogas, also called renewable natural gas, is created when
organic matter decomposes without oxygen present. Developers of the project will
harvest biogas from Murphy-Brown finishing farms, using technology developed and
installed by Roeslein Alternative Energy.
The process, organizers said, will work like this:
Murphy-Brown will scrape manure into existing lagoons that will be covered to
reduce odors and control water flow into them. There, the waste will decompose
and produce gas. Alternative fuel equipment will harvest and commercialize the
“We expect to achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions,
shrink MBM’s carbon footprint, eliminate rainfall effects on treatment systems,
all while capturing a valuable and renewable biogas energy resource,” Roeslein
Alternative Energy President Rudi Roeslein said in a statement.
Stern Brothers & Co. is underwriting financing for
project, but officials also may seek funding through a Missouri clean energy
program, Murphy-Brown said in a news release. Smithfield Foods and Murphy-Brown
are not providing funding for the project.
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