Duke University Turns Pig Poop into Power (Video)

duke university hog waste photo

Image credit: Duke University
Duke University's Bleed Blue, Live Green campaign created a clamor of attention from fans wanting to get hold of a limited edition shirt. So much so, we had to post a follow up on where to find the green Duke shirts. I'm wondering if the University's latest initiative will be quite so popular—because Duke is getting into pig poop.Duke University and Duke Power broke ground this week on a prototype methane-capture system at a 9000-head hog farm in NC that will convert waste gas from hog poop into energy through a process of anaerobic digestion.

The move is part of the University's efforts to go carbon neutral by 2024. To Duke's credit, the University isn't just looking at buying any-old carbon offsets, but rather to develop specific programs that deliver benefits in the surrounding communities of North Carolina, as Tatjana Vujic, director of the university's Carbon Offsets Initiative, explains:

"That goal can't be reached only by making our buildings more efficient or reducing the miles we drive - although we're working on all of those things aggressively. We need to account for those greenhouse gas emissions we can't reduce by preventing or reducing emissions elsewhere - what are called carbon offsets. And we want those offsets to come from projects that make a difference to our local and regional environment and economy."

Of course there will be those who find the idea of describing byproducts of factory farming and the meat industry as "renewable energy" a bit of a stretch, but I'd much rather see methane be captured and used than disappear up into the atmosphere.

More on Methane Capture, Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas
Biogas from Waste, Direct to the Consumer. It's Vegan Too.
TreeHugger Picks: Behold the Power of Poo
Waste Management Investing US$400 Million on Methane to Electricity Projects

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