A Williamsburg County hog farm will be the site of a new methane gas power generation facility. The farm is partnering with Santee Cooper, Environmental Fabrics Inc. and Clemson University to construct the facility.
The 180-kilowatt Burrows Hall Renewable Energy Facility is expected to begin generating renewable energy for the grid early this summer. It will produce enough power for approximately 90 average South Carolina homes.
Four years ago Duffy Connolly, owner of Burrows Hall Farm, approached Santee Cooper with the idea of building an anaerobic digester that could capture methane gas, naturally produced on his hog farm, and turn that methane into a fuel source for electricity.
They turned to Clemson University’s South Carolina Institute for Energy Studies for assistance in defining and implementing the project, using a grant administered by the S.C. Energy Office and funded by the S.C. Department of Agriculture.
SCIES evaluated more than 20 different companies and approaches to completing the project.
They approached Environmental Fabrics, a Gaston-based firm, to design and build the digester. EFI has been granted the necessary permits and construction is underway.
Upon completion, EFI will own and operate the digester. Santee Cooper has contracted to purchase the power from EFI, which Santee Electric Cooperative will distribute from Burrows Hall to the Santee Cooper transmission network.
Methane gas is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and so the digester represents a significant environmental benefit with potential applications in agricultural settings across the state. The state’s economy benefits because the venture, utilizing 100% South Carolina resources, will provide cost-effective renewable energy, reduce the need for traditional fuel sources, and outline the potential implementation of similar systems across the state.
“This project taps into indigenous energy resources in our state, which not only creates jobs but also helps to reduce harmful emissions,” said Ashlie Lancaster, S.C. Energy Office’s director.