2000 - Volume #24, Issue #4, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
They're Making Oil From ManureWhen most people look at those giant slurry tanks popping up all over the country on giant hog and dairy farms, they see a big problem. But researchers at the University of Illinois say the slurry in the big tanks could be turned into oil to power cars, trucks, tractors and any other internal combustion engine.
A group of engineers at the University's ag engineering laboratory have successfully used a "thermochemical" process to convert liquid hog manure to oil. Their goal was to reduce slurry waste and to produce fuel for the farm.
So far the experiment is confined to a bench-top unit but they say there's no reason the small-scale results should not carry over into full-size production.
The liquid manure is heated to 250 to 300 degrees for about two hours. Then carbon monoxide was added and the "product" put under a moderate amount of pressure.
The result was amazing. Oil yield was as high as 63% of the initial volatile solids in the manure, and the quality of the oil was relatively high. Less than a third of the original waste material was left to dispose of after the oil conversion process.
Although it has long been known that oil can be made from any source of carbon by putting it under pressure and heat, it appears liquid manure is particularly well-suited to the process. And although the oil produced might cost more per gallon than petroleum fuels, the added benefit of reducing waste material might offset the cost.
The researchers reported their results to the American Society of Agricultural Engineers in paper 994062. A copy is available through ASAE.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, ASAE, 2950 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, Mich. 49085 (ph 616 429-0300; E-mail: email@example.com).
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