Cars Could Soon Be Powered By Human Waste
In the US, Utah’s Genifuel has partnered with the Pacific Northwest Laboratory to build a $6 million pilot plant that’s set to launch in 2018. The DOE has announced over $13 million for similar projects to help evaluate companies offering different tweaks on the technology. The processes take the sludge, pressurize it to 200 times atmospheric pressure (3000 psi), heat it up to a good roasting temperature (315 Celsius, 600 Fahrenheit), and create liquid bio-crude and a small amount of phosphorus-rich solids, which can be used as disease-free fertilizer. If using only human solids of 10 litres (2.6 gallons) of biofuel per year, this sustainable fuel source can supply about 0.5% of the world’s crude oil. If animal byproducts are also included, this number changes to about 1-1.2%, around the annual crude production of the UK or Colombia. In the US alone, this translates to 30 million BOE per year for humans, and over 50 million BOE per year if livestock are included.
- This type of technology has further advantages to the current treatment of human waste. Currently. waste is often mixed with fertilizer to help grow crops. However, if the waste isn’t treated sufficiently as is sometimes the case, diseases can pass through the treatment processes and into the crops. This liquefaction process guarantees that all diseases are eliminated from the waste, while still producing some byproducts useful for agriculture.