biogas

Duke Energy to Use Renewable Natural Gas in North Carolina Project

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A Duke Energy power plant is using renewable natural gas from North Carolina-based hog farms to produce electricity – the first application of the technology from in-state farms.
Duke Energy to Use Renewable Natural Gas in North Carolina Project
Courtesy of Duke Energy

Sometimes called directed biogas, the Optima KV project in Duplin County captures methane gas from the hog waste of five local farms. Using more than 42,000 feet of in-ground piping, the methane is moved to a central location where the gas is cleaned and converted to pipeline-quality natural gas.

The project injects the renewable natural gas into the Piedmont Natural Gas system which transports it to Duke Energy’s Smith Energy Complex in Richmond County where it is used to produce electricity. Optima KV completed its interconnection to Piedmont Natural Gas last week.

“Biogas is such a rich resource for the state, especially for North Carolina’s agriculture industry,” said Gus Simmons of Cavanaugh & Associates, a partner of OptimaBio. “Harvesting unused organics such as swine manure from farms can create a new business opportunity for farmers, provide an in-state source of energy fuel and improve the sustainability of the agriculture and energy sectors. It’s a win-win.”

Announced in 2016, the project is expected to yield about 11,000 MWh of electricity – enough to power about 1,000 homes.

Historically, renewable natural gas has been used by smaller, on-site generators that are connected to the overall energy grid. Using Duke Energy’s larger, more efficient plants allows more renewable energy to be created with the same amount of renewable natural gas.

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