Renewable energies are becoming increasingly important for reducing atmospheric CO2. The pork industry contributes to the use of biomass -organic waste for the production of biofuels- which is key to the development of a more sustainable economy. Although the Chilean pork sector does not yet have any plants dedicated to purifying biogas into biomethane, there is great potential for the development of eco-fuels, which will require synergy with other sectors.
Around the world, aviation is facing significant challenges in light of the uncertainty posed by climate change. In 2022, U.S. clean energy company Fulcrum BioEnergy accomplished a major milestone by becoming the first commercial facility to produce low-carbon crude oil, which was refined into a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This innovative technology converts household waste into renewable transportation fuels, which not only reduces landfill waste, but also greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the use of clean transportation fuels.
Methane biogas, which is produced using landfill inputs, agricultural operations and wastewater treatment facilities, offers a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels for aircrafts. The aforementioned wastes are converted into small confetti-like raw materials, which are then transformed into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This synthesis gas is converted to liquid jet fuel by the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Capturing and converting methane from biogas into SAF reduces CO2 emissions, is resource efficient, and generates fewer GHG emissions than fossil fuels.
In Chile, the Chilean Meat Exporters Association, ChileCarne, is working on the technological, environmental, and energy transformation of companies, promoting the use of technologies for the treatment of pig slurry, which can be used as biofuel. These technologies enable long-term sustainable production by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and ammonia, while helping to improve the acceptance of pig farms in local communities.
ChileCarne’s Sustainability Manager, Daniela Álvarez, pointed out the positive impact of the actions implemented in the Chilean pork industry over the last decade: “Thanks to technologies such as biodigesters, which allow us to produce biogas from slurry, we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 26% per pig over the last 20 years. Today, the biogas produced by the 19 biodigesters installed in pig farms is largely used to generate renewable electric energy in boilers that heat the animals and the biodigesters themselves, and for pelletizing feed. Although Chile does not yet have any plants dedicated to purifying biogas into biomethane, there is great potential for the development of eco-fuels that help reduce oil consumption and contribute to the circular economy, especially if we consider synergies with other sectors.”
Bearing this in mind, as well as the need to create and strengthen initiatives that promote the use of biofuels, the incorporation of pork companies into the Chile Conscious Origin Program provides them with concrete opportunities to address the issue of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and think ahead to the future. Companies that choose Level 2 certification under the Pig Protocol will be trained on how to report and quantify their organization’s carbon footprint, which will then enable them to implement a GHG emissions reduction plan. In addition, the HuellaChile Program, sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment, will support organizations in complying with these actions through workshops, seals of recognition, and the registration of emissions and transfer of pollutants.
“The Chilean pork industry is strongly convinced that we must be part of the energy transition in order to achieve a significant and immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2. Therefore, in addition to the actions we have already taken and which we are continuously measuring and certifying, we are open to new partnerships that will allow us to contribute even more to the global goals of climate neutrality, where eco-fuels play a key role,” Álvarez concluded.