09/12/2011 06:10 EDT | Updated 11/12/2011 05:12 EST

Google goes hog-wild for methane reduction; project turns manure into power

Google Inc. is investing in a project that turns hog manure into electricity.

Duke University and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) have built a plant that captures methane gas frrm a hog operation in North Carolina and burns enough of it to power 35 homes a year.

The university says Google is covering some of the costs in exchange for a share of the project's carbon offset credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Internet giant (Nasdaq:GOOG) is working ot make its operations carbon-neutral, and invests in a variety of projects to offset its emissions.

Open lagoons full of hog waste are a major source of methane gas, which — pound for pound — is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

The university says in a statement its system prevents the equivalent of 5,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere every year — the same as taking 900 cars off the road.

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