Animal Waste In Duke's Future

NORTH CAROLINA - It might not be as sexy as harnessing the wind, sun and water. But electricity produced from animal waste and plant matter could become a major part of the state's renewable energy future.
calendar icon 13 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Duke Energy Corp. says technology has improved to the point it plans to invest in biomass power plants, where animal waste and other organic material is burned directly or processed to generate electricity.

North Carolina - with multiple paper mills, scads of poultry farms and more hogs than people - is well-suited to be a center for the nascent biomass power-generation industry, said David Mohler, Duke's chief technology officer.

It could mean more jobs and extra investment as the plants come online over the next decade-and-a-half. It also would help N.C. hog and chicken farmers dispose of environmentally hazardous animal waste by putting it to good use, supporters of biomass energy say.

It's also required of Duke and other major utilities under a new state renewable energy law. Congress is mulling a similar requirement.

The Charlotte-based utility invited bids earlier this year with the aim of buying at least 2,100 megawatts of renewable energy - about the equivalent output of three large-scale natural gas- or coal-fired power plants. Duke says it has studied close to 100 proposals and has a short list of 10, including wind, solar and biomass projects. It plans to choose a final group by the end of the year, Mohler said.

"We're looking at a whole smorgasbord."

Source: CheckBioteh
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