Over here on the carbon team we get pretty darn excited to see new and ingenious ways to handle animal waste, so it was with great enthusiasm that we learned about scientists who had successfully (or at least semi-successfully) turned pig poo into crude oil.
As with most biofuels (and any other other fuel for that matter), there are positives and negatives to pig fuel. On the plus side, farmers might see a financial return of ten bucks per pig profit for a (kinda) renewable resource that could theoretically create over a billion gallons of crude annually in the U.S. alone. And capturing this waste would help clean up a lot of the other downstream environmental nastiness that results from manure lagoons.
On the downside, this pig poo gas is “less ‘clean’ than petroleum-derived fuel,” but researchers are confident that the by undertaking this experiment they have learned how to adjust the distillation to give a much cleaner product. In fact, they believe one of the big upsides to the work is that they’ve discovered ways to tweak the production of all manner of biofuels to be cleaner or to adjust the overall carbon emissions of any fuel. And that’s something we can get behind.