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Raw materials & technologies, Applications

Forming a new type of asphalt

Monday, 25 July 2016

A team of researchers have found a way to extract the rich oil that is found in pig waste, and mix it with rocks to form a new type of asphalt durable enough for highway traffic. 

Researchers have extracted the rich oil that is found in pig waste, and mix it with rocks to form a new type of asphalt. Source: angieconscious - pixelio.de
Researchers have extracted the rich oil that is found in pig waste, and mix it with rocks to form a new type of asphalt. Source: angieconscious - p...

Pig farmers around the world have a major complaint and it involves the ever-present challenge of what to do with the nearly 43 billion gallons of pig excrement, or manure, that is generated every year.

Future of paved roadways

Professor Elle Fini and a team of researchers at North Carolina A&T State University have discovered what they believe to be the not so distant future of paved roadways. Through the support of the National Science Foundation, the team has found a way to extract the rich oil that is found in pig waste, and mix it with rocks to form a new type of asphalt durable enough for highway traffic, which they call bio-adhesive. 

Tests have proven to be a success

The extensive and tedious research, which has included putting samples of the new material through rigorous vehicle simulators and tests to determine its durability, has proven to be a success. In fact, Fini and a group of partners have set up a company called Bio-Adhesives Alliance. "We test it to see if it will rock or sag too much because it shouldn’t do that. Also it shouldn’t crack at low temperatures. We think it’s scalable and cost wise its profitable,” said Fini. "Our vision is to help the farmer and help the construction industry; both sides. We see a win-win solution.”

Reducing dependence on petroleum

The new product is so efficient that nearly nothing goes to waste. During processing, the foul, off-putting aroma is filtered out, and even the by-products of the bio-adhesive can be used by farmers as fertiliser. At only $0.56 (EUR0.51) per gallon to process, bio-adhesive is an extremely viable solution to further reduce the country’s dependence on the more expensive petroleum. It’s safe to say the product is on track to be as widely utilised and available as its raw material is abundant. 

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