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Connecting Hog Farms To Pipelines Could Streamline Methane Gas Energy

A hog farm in Lyons, Georgia.
Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS

Researchers at Duke University say they have shed more light on the prospects of using hog waste to produce energy. 

A study released last week says capturing methane gas from hog farms and routing it through natural gas pipelines could cut production costs.  The report says the process involves a network of farms that would send the gas to one central hub to pressurize it for the natural gas pipelines.

"We found that would be the most economical approach," says Tatjana Vujic, co-author of the study. 

"There (are) some caveats to that, but it you can contain certain costs in terms of biogass transport, you could reduce costs of on-farm electricity production by nearly half."

A state law passed in 2007 directs utilities to produce 0.2 percent of their electricity from hog waste by 2018.  Vujic says more research is needed to determine exactly how much it might cost investors to support the system.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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