Pig Poop Petrol

Monday, April 19, 2004
A story gives new meaning to "gaseous emissions":

Research: Pig Manure Can Become Crude Oil

URBANA, Ill. - A University of Illinois research team is working on turning pig manure into a form of crude oil that could be refined to heat homes or generate electricity.

Years of research and fine-tuning are ahead before the idea could be commercially viable, but results so far indicate there might be big benefits for farmers and consumers, lead researcher Yanhui Zhang said.

"This is making more sense in terms of alternative energy or renewable energy and strategically for reducing our dependency on foreign oil," said Zhang, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering. "Definitely, there is potential in the long term."

The thermochemical conversion process uses intense heat and pressure to break down the molecular structure of manure into oil. It's much like the natural process that turns organic matter into oil over centuries, but in the laboratory the process can take as little as a half-hour.

Now I wonder what they could do with old diapers?