I just read an enlightening article about a new source of potential energy, It seems that scientists at the University of Illinois have developed a process for converting raw pig manure into crude oil. They go on to say that with further development, the process may even yield biodiesel. Now the actual research was published in 2006. It apparently has taken this long for someone to put this newfound technology to use – making roads.
Now, in case you don’t know, let me bring you up to speed on the US pig industry
According to the US Department of Agriculture in 2007 there were 67.8 Million pigs in the United States. On average, those pigs take up space at the rate of about 8.7 per acre. And those pigs produce about 8 pounds of waste a day. That is a lot of pig poop - two and a half tons a year!
This procedure promises to make a half a barrel of oil substitute (21 gallons) per year out of that 8 pounds of daily pig manure using a thermochemical conversion (TCC) process. How much water or energy is involved in the process (and there is some of both) is unclear.
Now, one of the original sub-licensees of the process, Innoventor Inc., a design and engineering company, is going to use the process to make asphalt pavement for a road leading to Six Flags St. Louis.
This is great news. Any waste that can be successfully re-purposed is not only good for recycling, but good for conserving energy. Not a whole bunch, but, hey, it all counts.
According to the researchers, each pig can produce one half a barrel of oil substitute (21 gallons) per year. With 67 Million pigs contributing, that would be 33 Million barrels per year. – About three days worth of US Oil imports. OK, it won’t wean us from oil. That would, however, keep us in asphalt for about 100 days. And it would eliminate a big problem for pig farmers, as well as put a few more dollars in their pockets.
And it could be a win-win for the country. We all love Bacon, hate pig poop, and need oil.
Here is the article that spawned this one.
Here is a recent article from Water & Wastewater about the process.
Here is an article from National Geographic about the process.
And finally, here is a place you can read the original research paper OnLine!
Well, that'll be a "wrap" with bacon and ham.