Goal to restore Missouri’s natural environment, joint venture transforms manure into renewable natural gas
The global food company, Smithfield Foods, Inc. and the major renewable energy developer, Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE), have formed a joint venture called Monarch Bioenergy to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) across Smithfield’s hog farms in Missouri. The partnership has goal to convert manure collected from Smithfield farms into RNG, while simultaneously delivering ecological services and developing wildlife habitat. Once complete, all Smithfield company-owned finishing farms in Missouri will have the infrastructure to produce RNG, resulting in approximately 1.3 million dekatherms of RNG annually, which is the equivalent to eliminating 130,000 gasoline vehicles.
The biogas creation and distribution
S.T Louis based joint venture; Monarch Bioenergy builds upon the successful first phase of Smithfield and RAE’s ground-breaking “manure-to-energy” project across nine Smithfield farms in northern Missouri, which is the largest project of its kind. The process will include installation and utilization of infrastructure on Smithfield farms in Missouri to capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into pipeline-quality natural gas, which will further distributed to RNG markets across the country. The biogas created by Monarch Bioenergy is transported through a gas gathering network and purified in a centrally located gas cleaning system designed and installed by RAE.
Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods said “This joint venture represents our continued commitment to doing business in a way that is good for our planet and its people.” “This innovative collaboration creates value for our company and our partners, and benefits the environment as we work to feed the world’s growing population”, he added.
“manure-to-energy” project produces biogas has received the lowest carbon intensity score ever recorded. Biogas with low carbon intensity, such as that created by Monarch Bioenergy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and achieves air quality benefits.
Restoring Missouri’s Natural Environment
In addition, the venture Monarch Bioenergy pledged to sustainably harvest native plants and cover crops that have been restored on highly-erodible lands. The biomass will be digested to produce additional RNG in Missouri while the project will leverage harvested prairie plants to create biomass for RNG production along with providing wildlife habitat for monarch butterflies.
Also, the venture supporting RAE’s goal to restore 30 million acres of land to native prairie plants strategically located around waterways, streams, rivers and highly erodible lands. Sustainable prairie plants have a valuable ecological, economic, social and environmental impact on our environment.
RAE’s President Rudi Roeslein, said “We are extremely grateful that Smithfield is committed to this vision. It begins with converting methane from hog manure to renewable natural gas. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. We hope to show the agriculture community, with the help of our joint venture partner Smithfield, how to take all these steps and make an enormous impact for energy, the environment, and wildlife.”