The Power of Pig Poop: Creating Renewable Energy from Manure
Grades: 3 - 5

Video Description: Imagine if pigs or some wild grass could help you heat your house or fuel your car. St. Louis-based Roeslein Alternative Energy produces renewable natural gas (RNG) from the anaerobic digestion of swine manure, turning pig poop into power. The company is also in the process of creating renewable natural gas from the digestion of native prairie plants. Working in partnership with Smithfield Foods – the world’s largest pork producer – Roeslein takes the manure made by pigs and deposits it into giant lagoons, which are about the size of a small pond. The lagoons are then covered with impermeable covers that keep rainwater out and trap the manure inside. Using anaerobic organisms, they break down the manure. The process produces CO2 and CO4, better known as methane. While methane is a highly destructive greenhouse gas if it gets into the atmosphere, they are able to capture it, inject it into natural gas lines and transport it across the country.

Type of Video: Story*
Unique Video ID: DEnvironment-94**

Quick Ideas for Using the Video:

  • Have students identify other sources of “green” energy.
  • Have students research for “green” energy facilities/companies in their area. Contact the company to see if a tour is available or a representative could speak to the class.


*Story videos employ a narrative form to highlight a topic, location, or practitioner in the area of study.

**The unique Video ID can be used to quickly locate a single video in the ET collection. This search function is designed to let teachers assign students to watch a specific video and have only that video appear as a search result. Just click on Search and choose “By Video ID.” Then type in the Video ID as it appears above. Be sure to include the dash.