Smithfield Foods will invest $20 million to build a facility that converts swine manure into biodiesel vehicle fuel. Smithfield will be the major partner in BEST BioFuel, LLC, a partnership that will construct the project at Smithfield-owned swine production facilities near Milford, Utah.
“Livestock manure can be a source of clean, renewable vehicle fuel,” says Robert F. Urell, Smithfield senior vice president, engineering and environmental affairs.
The facility will be constructed at Circle Four Farms in southwest Utah. The Beaver County Planning & Zoning Board recommended approval of a conditional use permit at a meeting Feb. 19. Construction is scheduled to start in April, pending final approval of the conditional use permit and a permit from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. The facility could start producing fuels as early as October.
The project will involve the construction of a collection system to pump waste to a central processing facility where it will be concentrated. The concentrated liquid is then introduced into a second facility that produces biogas, which is then piped to an enclosed plant where thermo-catalytic processes convert it into biomethanol.
The biomethanol will be transported to a plant outside of Utah for processing into biodiesel utilizing oils, such as soybean oil, animal fat or used cooking oil. The result is a clean burning, renewable fuel that also has been shown to extend the life of diesel engines due to improved lubricating action.
“We should all be excited about the opportunities of projects such as these,” says Jean-Mari Peltier, counselor to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “We can get immediate environmental benefits and the potential to create additional economic opportunities for our farmers and rural communities as well."