Construction begins on $80M hog-waste-to-energy facility in Missouri

Nick Fetty | August 12, 2014
An Iowa farmer tends to his hogs. (Danielle Hughson/Flickr)
An Iowa farmer attends to his hogs. (Danielle Hughson/Flickr)

Construction has begun on an $80 million facility in northern Missouri that will convert hog waste into usable energy.

The facility will utilize a process known as anaerobic digestion which uses “bacteria (to) break down manure in an oxygen-free environment.” Impermeable covers are installed on top of lagoons which trap the biogas. The biogas is then cleaned of any impurities, such as sulfur, making it chemically similar to natural gas.

Germany currently utilizes 6,800 anaerobic digestion facilities which power millions of German households and an estimated 8,200 dairy and swine operations in the Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) could support similar anaerobic systems.

Various farms and other operations in Iowa have utilized anaerobic digestion techniques and the benefits of anaerobic digestion on swine farms in Iowa has been discussed as far back as 1999. Stockton, Iowa-based Agri ReNew was a recipient of the 2014 American Biogas Council Biogas Project of the Year Award for “the execution of a quality agricultural based project and sustainable business model which can be replicated at farms across the U.S.”

The Missouri project is a collaboration between Roeslein Alternative Energy and Murphy-Brown of Missouri. Renewable natural gas production is expected to begin by fall of 2014.