Pig city – zero emission and odour-free pig production


A pig housing unit at ground level and a tomato greenhouse on the first floor. This sounds like nonsense, but it may become a reality in the not-too-distant future. Learn about the ground-breaking project called “Pig City” which is based on the Cradle-to-Cradle concept.

Visualisation: Nee Rentz-Petersen/Gottlieb Paludan. Source: RealDania.


The vision is to develop a modern and energy-efficient production method with respect for animals as well as the environment and climate. Pig City is sustainable, industrial agricultural production on a large scale. The pig housing unit at the ground floor extends to 16,000 m2 and to this must be added an abattoir and a zero energy environmental facility. Slurry and abattoir waste are waste products, but in gasified form they can be used to power a turbine which generates electricity. The by-product can be used to fertilise the tomato plants on the ground floor or sold as fertiliser. This solution is based on the Cradle-to-Cradle concept where waste is regarded as a resource.


The core competencies of AgroTech are in the fields of environmental engineering and livestock production, and we put our expertise in these fields into practice in the project.

The five focus areas of the project are:

  • Global environment. Significant reduction of CO2 emissions. Zero-energy greenhouse by use of waste products.
  • Architecture. Creation of simple buildings that are integrated into their natural surrounding and open to the public.
  • Animal welfare. Increase in pig welfare due to spacious housing and an on-farm abattoir, avoiding transportation of the animals.
  • Working Environment. Reduction in dust and ammonia concentrations in the air by means of a new ventilation system.
  • Immediate environment. Development of a zero emission, hermetically sealed environmental facility and a biological air purification system to ensure an almost odour-free pig production.

Development perspectives

Pig City is a sound proposal for the future food production that takes account of producers, consumers and society. Authorities and neighbours make great demands on farmers to reduce odour emissions. Consumers also make demands on the food they buy. The two most important criteria when buying food in the supermarket are high quality and sustainable production, because consumers care about where the food comes from and the conditions under which it is produced.

However, consumers are not the only ones who make demands. Retailers also demand sustainable products and documentation of climate efficiency. The only way to ensure the future competitiveness of agriculture is to meet the demands and expectations of the stakeholders. And zero emission and odour-free pig production may prove to be the key to increasing profitability in agriculture.

Facts about the project

The project has won the Danish financial institution RealDania’s competition for agricultural buildings of the future and is supported financially by RealDania.

The construction is scheduled to begin in 2011.

The project has not been approved by the Danish authorities yet, but the process is in progress. The next step is to define the objectives and scope of the project and develop a detailed schedule of activities and resources.

The project participants are:

  • Entrepreneurs: Food producer Søren Hansen, tomato producer Mads Ulrik Pedersen, the nursery ”Gartneriet Alfred & Søn A/S”.
  • Consultant to entrepreneurs: Bente Søgaard – Bygningskontoret NORD A/S.
  • Architects: Member of the Academic Architect Association Rentz-Petersen and Gottlieb Paludan Arkitekter A/S.
  • Authority and environmental consultancy companies: Cowi A/S and AgroTech A/S.
  •  Consultant engineer, greenhouses: Thomas Larssen ltd.
  • Consultant engineer, pig farms and zero energy environmental facility: Danish Meat Research Institute DMRI/The Danish Technological Institute.
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Published on 29.03.2010