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Pig Crude?

Hot on the heels of our article on crude oil from algae comes this article on crude oil from pig manure.  Much like the concept of algal crude oil, the idea is to create a fuel that is as similar to our current compounds as possible.  This makes it easier to integrate into our current infrastructure, a big hurdle for many alternative energy sources, and thus roll out to consumers.

The article describes the process created by Yuanhui Zhang that uses heat and pressure to turn organic compounds into oil.  Creating a high-heat and pressure environment takes energy, so the question on my mind is whether or not the energy we gain from this alternative fuel is more than the energy used to create it.  The same question holds for algal crude as it does for ethanol, hydrogen, or other alternative fuels.  I suppose the ultimate would be to use a renewable source like wind or geothermal to power the manure-to-crude conversion, but this article doesn't indicate that the research is far enough along to get into those engineering questions just yet.





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