Local News

Utility looks at taking a 'pig' step toward new fuel

Posted February 19, 2007 5:32 p.m. EST
Updated April 30, 2008 6:55 p.m. EDT

— How many hogs does it take to light a light bulb?

That’s a real question for Raleigh-based Progress Energy, which announced Monday that it will study the possibility of turning hog waste into electricity.

Progress officials said they would work with several hog farms across the state, including Murphy-Brown farms, Smithfield Foods' hog-production subsidiary.

Renewable energy advocates contend that animal waste—along with solar, wind and other alternative energy sources—could help offset the need for coal and nuclear power as energy sources for running electric-power plants.

North Carolina is home to some of the nation's largest hog producers. Turning hog waste into fuel would reduce a continuing environmental concern created by waste accumulation.

Converting hog waste into fuel has long been considered too expensive and impractical, but the pilot project will test a new technology.