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Duke University Study Looks at Cost Effectiveness of Electricity from Hog Waste

Recently, Duke University released findings from a study on converting hog waste into electricity. Duke University’s Tanja, Vujic, Director of the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative explains the need for the study:

“We are a special state in that we are the only state that requires renewable from swine waste and from poultry waste.”

Vujic explains the study had two parts, but one goal:

“We looked at the opportunity to make renewable energy from swine waste and used the NC Renewable Energy Portfolio of Standards- REPS. We were interested to know how best to meet the swine waste set aside.”

One aspect of the study, according to Vujic, involved a group of hog farms:

“We looked at approaches that all involved bio gas so that the assumption was there would be anaerobic digestion of the swine waste on farms. And we looked at what would be the most efficient way to get the bio gas and turn it into electricity. One of the most efficient ways was for a centralized system where the bio gas to be piped from each farm in a clustered network to a central point for pressurization and purification to be injected into the natural gas pipeline.”

And the other aspect of the study involved using the electricity generated on the individual farm where it’s produced:

“The other farm was on-farm electricity production, taking the bio gas and creating electricity on the farm with a micro-turbine.”

Or, routed back to use on the generating farm.

Vujic wants to point out that this method isn’t for every farm, or every farmer:

“We looked at what was the most efficient place and farms. The biggest farms make the most sense and also ones that are located in certain areas like Duplin and Sampson Counties.”

We’ll be hearing more from Tanja Vujic, Director of the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative tomorrow on Inside Agriculture. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.