Pig manure may be converted to crude oil

URBANA, Ill - A University of Illinois in Urbana professor and her graduate students are investigating a unique solution to soaring oil prices -- pig manure.
calendar icon 14 August 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Professor Yuanhui Zhang has spearheaded a project in which her students visit swine pens at nearby farms, collect pig excrement, and then drive it to a lab on the edge of the campus. There, the manure is pressure-cooked until it becomes a thick, black, energy-rich muck remarkably similar to crude oil, the Chicago Tribune reported.

As fuel prices climb, Zhang and her students are hoping to transform their pig droppings into petroleum that can be refined into industrial fuel.

"What's fascinating is that it's a relatively simple process," said Ted Funk, a researcher in Zhang's group. "Even though the process has complex chemistry, it's relatively short, requires almost no extra materials, and you get a nice energy output."

Zhang said the technique, called thermochemical conversion, was something she conceived of 10 years ago, when she began combating the growing manure problems on dense hog farms.

Source: United Press International
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