The Power of Pigs


Pigs have been getting a lot of bad press lately, what with the swine flu and all. So it was nice to come across this National Geographic News video that puts pigs in a much better light.

With a catchy title, “pig poop helps power Netherlands“,  the video looks at how some Netherlands farms are turning methane-rich pig excrement into electricity. According to one farm manager, the bodily waste of his 2,700 pigs produces about 5000 mega watts of electricity a year. That’s way more than the farm actually needs, so the rest is fed into the national grid.

It’s  a win-win for the farm. The pig waste is disposed of. They have all the electricity they need. And the Netherlands government pays the farm up to US$283 per megawatt as a green energy subsidy.

And it’s definitely a win-win for the planet. Given that a large percentage of greenhouse gases come from farmyard animals who belch and excrete methane, farms converting the pigs waste into bio-gas will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, there are about 50 commercial biogas plants operating on farms throughout  the Netherlands. Let’s hope industrial livestock farms around the world will soon follow suit.

Image: jere-me