Pig Poop Paves The Way?
I may have just got a wiff of the future… pig poop pavements!
I love solutions that can help kill two birds with one stone, which is exactly what North Carolina A&T State University have done with their piggy poop asphalt.
Researchers at the university have discovered that pig manure contains oils similar to that of petroleum. While the grade of the oil is too low for producing an efficient gasoline, it is just fine for using as a binder in asphalt.
This helps us deal with both the environmental issues of sourcing crude oil, and helps us deal with the huge environmental issue of farm waste (at least from swine farming).
The great news is that not only is it more environmentally friendly, it is also cheaper. (Just US$0.56/gallon to produce.)
Ellie Fini, lead researcher and assistant professor of civil engineering, told Gizmag “It is different from petroleum refinery, which distills crude oil to produce mainly fuel and leave the residue for asphalt. Here we produce bio-adhesive from breaking bio-mass molecular structure and re-synthesizing the bio-adhesive structure. Bio-adhesive is lower in cost, requires less heat for mixing and compaction, and is more durable.”
The tests have already passed the US Department of Transportation requirements, including a simulation of trucks making 20,000 passes over it.
No need to worry about the smell either. The smelly part to pig poop is removed during the processing, and the remaining dry matter can also be used as a fertilizer. Now that’s got to be better than a pile of toxic waste.
This is a great example of a process that helps close the loop, by making one man’s waste another man’s gold. It can help farmers reduce their waste management costs, and even provide them with an additional stream of income.
Globally we produce around 43 billion gallons of pig manure every year. That’s enough to contribute significantly to the expansion and upkeep of our roads.
For long term sustainability we need to reduce farming period. But so long as we continue farming, then the more we can do to reduce the environmental impact the better. Especially when we can reduce our dependence on nonrenewable resources at the same time.
Check out the video below from the National Science Foundation for a clearer, errr, picture of the poop situation…