Many of our local government clients such as Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Prince William County, and Fairfax County, VA have been operating landfill gas to energy systems for years. These systems capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas released when waste decomposes without oxygen. Instead of just burning off the methane as was previously done, the methane can be used to power generators, that in turn produce electricity.
There’s another readily available source of methane out there, and you may have smelled it if you have ever driven within 5 miles of a hog farm on a warm day. Using the same concept as the landfill gas systems, hog waste is collected in closed digesters, and the off-gassed methane is recovered and sent to a generator for combustion. This results in many environmental benefits, such as reducing odors from the farm, runoff from open waste lagoons, and greenhouse gas emissions, while generating renewable energy.
This farm partnered with Duke University to install their system, and now sells renewable energy credits to Google. Since then, this farm has installed an even larger system, generating enough electricity to power 300 homes. This farmer is making $28,000 per year selling electricity from his system.
We love to see a creative idea that solves many problems at once!