Duke Energy, the largest electric holding company in the U.S., aims to buy up pig and poultry poop from a North Carolina facility, expressly for the purpose of generating renewable methane energy.
Duke announced a 15-year coupling with Carbon Cycle Energy, a Colorado-based company, so it can generate treasure troves of methane fuel from the hindquarters of North Carolina’s teeming pig population.
“It is encouraging to see the technological advances that allow waste-to-energy projects in North Carolina to be done in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner for our customers,” David Fountain, the president of Duke Energy’s North Carolina facility, said in a press statement on Monday.
Fountain continued: “The gas from this project will generate carbon neutral electricity compared to the emissions that would result if the waste was left to decay naturally.”
If the premise sounds familiar, it should. Pig waste was also used as a plot in the apocalyptic film “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” to generate power for Barter Town, a small village in the movie run by a dictator and his henchman, both called “Master Blaster.”
The North Carolina plant holding the pig waste will be owned and controlled by Carbon Cycle Energy, not Master Blaster.
The methane captured from the swine will be injected directly into the Carbon Cycle Energy pipeline and then used at four Duke Energy plants across the country, according to Duke Energy.
Theoretically, nearly 125,000 megawatts of pig power should be able to power more than 10,000 homes. The investment may be a hill of beans, however, as the biogas is only capable of producing less than one percent of Duke Energy’s power.
Still, Fountain and Duke Energy are undaunted – the company may be looking for anything to give them credit among the environmental crowd after one of the company’s North Carolina power plants leaked 30 tons of coal ash into a nearby river in 2014.
“It is encouraging to see the technological advances that allow waste-to-energy projects in North Carolina to be done in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner for our customers,” Fountain said.
North Carolina is the second largest hog producer in the U.S. behind Iowa.
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