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Swineline Farm

After installing a 65-kilowatt Capstone MicroTurbine®, Swineline Farm in Cullinan, South Africa, transformed methane biogas produced by its commercial pig farm into renewable energy. Reducing costs, lowering emissions, and providing power to the 1,000-sow operation, the Capstone CR65 microturbine allowed the farm to address its environmental odor issues and reap immense benefits by using the biogas to generate onsite renewable power. The Capstone Renewable (CR) microturbine line is designed to operate on the facility’s biogas.

Swineline owner James Jenkinson, an agricultural engineer, recognized the value of incorporating the Capstone microturbine into the operation. “The technology is top notch,” Jenkinson said. “I was sold immediately the day I saw how it connects to the grid, how easily (it connects), and how little maintenance there is on the whole plant.”

In addition to being clean burning and efficient, Capstone microturbines are known for their reliability since they have only one moving part and the patented air-bearing technology does not require lubricants or coolants. The CR65 uses a Dual Mode Controller to facilitate protection of critical loads. Acting like an automatic transfer switch, the Dual Mode Controller monitors incoming power and directs the Capstone microturbines to switch to stand alone operation when the grid fails. Protected loads see less than 10 seconds of outage while the microturbines transition from grid- parallel to stand alone operation.

At Swineline, odor control was the most significant environmental concern. “We are producing roughly 2.2 to 2.5-metric-tons (4,850 to 5,500 pounds) of effluent per day,” Jenkinson said. The development of a covered anaerobic lagoon to capture a methane rich biogas

and installation of the Capstone CR65 microturbine provided a new, environmentally friendly approach to the traditional treatment of the farm’s animal waste.

At a glance


Cullinan, South Africa


December 2011


Biogas derived from the treatment of wastewater.


• CR65 Capstone microturbine.

• Capstone Dual Mode Controller.


• System reduces the farm’s electricity use by at least 30% annually.

• Reduces odor into surrounding community by more than 75%.

• Using the Dual Mode Controller, loads see less than 10 seconds of outage while the microturbines transition from grid- parallel to stand alone operation.

• Capstone Renewable microturbine line uses the site’s biogas to generate onsite renewable power.

• Provides most economical total cost of ownership available in the market.

• The power produced is fed back to the facility; heating it, pumping water and running the ventilation system.

• Farm is recognized as industry leader in South Africa thanks in part to the bene ts of the microturbine system.

Image | Agricultural Swineline Farm

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