NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods are vowing to invest half a billion dollars in manure-to-energy projects in several states.

The Daily Press of Newport News reports the companies initially planned to join in a $250 million, 10-year venture to turn animal waste into energy. Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables, said doubling the investment will enable scaling up to other states, such as Arizona, California and Missouri.

The joint venture with Dominion will operate initially in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah.

Each project consists of a cluster of 15 to 20 farms where hogs spend about 20 weeks fattening up to market weight. There, manure lagoons will be covered with digester systems to stabilize and capture the methane before it's finally delivered through underground pipelines.

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