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Google Invests in Hog-Waste Energy; Diaper Recycling Plant Opens

Google has invested in a pilot project by Duke University and Duke Energy that converts waste from a pig farm into usable energy.

The system, on a hog finishing facility 25 miles west of Winston-Salem, N.C., converts hog waste into electricity and creates carbon-offset credits. The two Dukes have spent $1.2m on the system so far. Google has not disclosed the size of its investment.

By capturing greenhouse gases from hog waste and burning them to run a turbine, the system produces enough electricity to power 35 homes for a year. It is expected to be able to prevent the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to nearly 5,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 900 cars off the road.

Duke Energy and the university will share operational and maintenance costs for the first ten years of operation. Google will assume a share of the university’s portion of the costs in return for a portion of the carbon offsets for a 5-year term.

In other “dirty” business news, Canadian company Knowaste has announced it will be building the U.K.’s first diaper-recycling facility as part of a £25 million ($40 million) investment in the country, the Press Association reports.

The plant, which will also recycle feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products, will be in West Bromwich in the West Midlands and is the first of five facilities planned for the UK, the PA says. Knowaste said it will sterilize and separate the materials, recovering plastic and fiber that can be used for roof tiles and other construction products.

Picture credit: Vicky Sawyer

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