Teamwork won recognition in the North Carolina electric industry recently. For good reason. A project that combines agriculture, waste control, power generation and electric industry research has made a mark in the power industry.
“Butler Farms is a sustainability-focused hog farm located in rural Lillington, North Carolina,” said POWER magazine. (Lillington is between Raleigh and Fayetteville.) “And with pigs comes manure. In fact, when the barns are full, about 10,000 gallons of manure are produced every day. The pee and poop drains through slots in the barn floors to collecting tanks below. At regular intervals, the collecting tanks are drained to a digester and two lagoons.”
Butler farms covered the lagoons to reduce odor. The owner learned that there can be added benefits to the lagoon. Professors at Iowa State wrote about the process of manure management, capturing waste and making something of it. Like power. So they did just that with the farm.
The farm is served by the South River Electric Cooperative. Together these groups combined the energy industry and agricultural industry. The project includes a biogas generator, microgrid (a power grid with a small, close-by generation source), solar panels, battery storage and the instrumentation to tie it together.
The project makes energy, reduces hog environmental impacts, increases power flexibility and is a great learning experience … good news.
“The innovative energy system is a reliable, resilient, and clean source of power for the farm and 28 nearby homes,” said POWER magazine.
(Feature image is a partial screen shot of the Butler Bioenergy website.)