The pork industry is to explore the potential for using pig manure as a source of energy.
The Pork Industry Board, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority have joined forces on an eight month project that will evaluate using manure to produce biogas on farms.
Biogas digesters which are already being trialled on some dairy farms convert methane emitted from manure and effluent into renewable energy that can be used to power the farm, or sent to the local electricity network.
The project will assess up to 10 different biogas systems under different conditions and the results will be used to identify the most effective options for farmers.
The pork industry has the capacity to produce more than 8,500 tonnes of methane a year which could generate more than 100 Gigawatts of energy.
Pork New Zealand chairman Chris Trengove said using manure for biogas production would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from pig farms.
"By putting it through a methane digester, instead of producing 20 parts of methane you end up with one part of carbon dioxide, so you've reduced your emissions twenty-fold.
"At the end of it you've created energy, as well as fertiliser."