Smithfield Foods - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  October 30, 2019

Smithfield Foods expands renewable natural gas investment

Smithfield Foods announced Oct. 23 that their partnership with Dominion Energy to invest in renewable natural gas projects across the U.S. is doubling its investment to $500 million through 2028.

The joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas, will be expanding from its projects in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah to those in Arizona and California.

The additional $250 million committed in this announcement will allow the venture to produce enough renewable natural gas to power more than 70,000 homes and businesses by 2029. The two companies expect the expansion to avoid more than 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.

The global food company and the utility formed Align RNG in November 2018 and committed $250 million to be distributed over 10 years to capture methane from Smithfield’s company-owned and contract hog farm and convert it into clean renewable natural gas.

The first project completed by Align RNG, in Milford, Utah, will be operational by the end of this year.

“Last year, we joined forces with Dominion Energy in a historic initiative to transform the future of sustainable energy and agriculture,” Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, said in a statement. “This substantial extension of our 'manure-to-energy' efforts will help us achieve our ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025 across our entire supply chain, while creating additional value for local family farmers and providing communities with clean energy.”

According to Dominion Energy, a typical RNG project consists of a cluster of 15 to 20 farms, where methane is captured from covered manure lagoons or digesters and then transported by a low-pressure biogas transmission line to a central conditioning facility. Once the gas is processed to meet pipeline-quality standards, it is then delivered to end-users through existing underground pipelines.

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