US research: manure as energy source

15-08-2006 | |

After several researches in Europe, now a scientific US team is investigating a solution to use pig manure for energy.

With soaring fueling prices, professor Yuanhui Zhang and her students are trying to transform pig manure into petroleum that can be turned into industrial fuel. Zhang, from the University of Illinois, US, said the technique, called thermochemical conversion, was something she conceived of 10 years ago, when she started off to combat growing manure problems.

In the project students visit swine pens at nearby farms, collect pig droppings and then drive it to a lab on the campus site. Consequently, the manure is pressure-cooked until it becomes a thick, black, energy-rich muck, not unlike crude oil.

One of the researchers said that despite a complex chemistry, the process is relatively short and requires almost no extra materials.