Turning pig poop into asphalt

A group of students and researchers in North Carolina have come up with a remarkably good idea for reducing costs and environmental impact for road construction: paving roads with swine manure.

Thankfully, the process that the entrepreneurs at North Carolina A&T State University have devised isn’t quite as simple as spreading pig poop on the ground and waiting for it to harden. Their process, reports Scientific American, includes a combination of heat, anoxic water solution, and, of course, pig poop, in an effort to pave new roads without using any petroleum-based products. Applying substantial pressure helps harden the newfound asphalt.

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In essence, the process turns feces into an adhesive that falls under the bio oil category; that is, a petroleum replacement that is entirely natural. Using animal byproducts is not a new thing. Ask any horse what they fear most and they’ll point toward Elmer’s Glue. Yet the difference here is that pig poop is a natural byproduct, something obviously impossible to avoid. And difficult to dispose of.

According to the magazine, the North Carolina team is hoping to build a pilot plant near the university’s Greensboro campus.

After all, there’s nothing like that fresh asphalt smell. 

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