Manure Manager

Features Applications Swine
IL researchers converting manure into oil


May 3, 2011
By University of Illinois

Topics

pigsApril 27, 2011 – Research
at the University of Illinois to convert swine manure into oil has expanded to
include more efficient technologies that use a variety of materials to produce
hydrocarbon fuels.
April 27, 2011 – Research
at the University of Illinois to convert swine manure into oil has expanded to
include more efficient technologies that use a variety of materials to produce
hydrocarbon fuels.

Now human, animal, and
food processing waste, as well as algae, are being used in a process called
hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). During HTL, high moisture biowaste is
subjected to elevated temperatures and pressures in order to break down and
reform the biowaste into a crude oil. The conversion mimics the natural
geological processes that produced our current fossil fuel reserves and allows
for the conversion of a wide range of feedstocks.

pigs  
   

Dr. Yuanhui Zhang, a
professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said after the biowaste
is converted, the resultant wastewater still contains nutrients – such as
nitrogen and phosphorus – that can be used to grow algae. The algae are then
fed back into the HTL reactor, as a sole feedstock or as an additive, to be
converted into additional crude oil.

“This synergistic process
is extremely advantageous,” said Dr. Zhang, “because it brings together two rivals,
energy production and environment protection, to complement rather than compete
with one another. We clean the wastewater, we capture the carbon and we convert
it into biomass and produce more crude oil. That’s why our research theme is
called E2 Energy – Environment Enhancing Energy. We can produce the energy, and
at the same time, enhance the environment.”

Dr. Zhang said they are also
studying the chemistry of HTL.

“We can convert biowaste
into oil, but we want to better understand the fundamental mechanisms of HTL.
What are the pathways of each reaction? We are looking deeper. At the same
time, we are still engineers, so we are working on developing new types of
continuing reactors.

“Biowaste and algae have
the potential to completely replace petroleum,” Dr. Zhang concluded. “Anyway, that
is the grand goal.”


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*