The processing that would be required to transform crude oil made from pig manure into fuel for vehicles or heating has been analyzed experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have claimed.
The study led by NIST chemist Tom Bruno attains importance because it is believed that mass production of biofuel from pig manure crude oil may help consume a waste product overflowing at US farms, and possibly enable cutbacks in the country's petroleum use and imports.
Bruno and his colleagues, however, insist that pig manure crude will require a lot of refining to serve this purpose.
In their study paper, the researchers write that the pig manure crude contains at least 83 major compounds that include many components that would need to be removed-such as about 15 per cent water by volume, sulfur that otherwise could end up as pollution in vehicle exhaust, and lots of char waste containing heavy metals.
Although the black liquid looks like its petroleum-based counterparts, the NIST study shows that looks can be deceiving.
"The fact that pig manure crude oil contains a lot of water is unfavourable. They would need to get the water out," Bruno says.
He says that, though his team does not have any plans for a major research into pig manure, their present study might have a payoff.
"Who knows, it might help decrease the nuisance of manure piles," he says.