Fuel From Human Waste: New Technology Converts Sewage Into Biocrude Oil

Posted: Nov 3 2016, 8:05am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Fuel from Human Waste: New Technology Converts Sewage into Biocrude Oil
(L)Sludge from Metro Vancouver’s wastewater treatment plant has been dewatered prior to conversion to biocrude oil at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (R)Biocrude oil, produced from wastewater treatment plant sludge, looks and performs virtually like fossil petroleum. Courtesy of WE&RF
  • Fuel can be Created from Waste Matter in Sewage

It is being proved that fuel can be created from waste matter in sewage. This may help future generations generate energy once the current oil, coal and gas reserves are depleted.

The idea seems to almost come from a sci-fi novel. Yet it is a valid one and is in fact being practiced before our very eyes.

Wastewater treatment plants all across the USA may one day in the future convert ordinary sewage into biocrude oil. The latest research points in the direction of this possibility in the times which are yet to come.

The technology is here. Termed hydrothermal liquefaction, it copies the methodology of the earth itself which creates crude oil beneath its surface.

High pressure and extremes of temperature are needed for the oil to form in the first place. While in the natural process, it takes millions of years for this feat to be accomplished, this artificial method can make biocrude oil within minutes.

This may seem to be too good to be true but it is 100% genuine. The resultant black gooey substance looks like crude oil and has some oxygen and water mixed in it.

This is then further refined via some petroleum-modifying methods. Wastewater plants spread throughout the United States process about 34 billion gallons of sewage per day.

That is a lot of stuff going down the drain. Yet all this gunk could be modified so that it yields 30 million barrels of oil on an annual basis.

All it takes is science applied in a suitable manner. A single person’s waste could lead to three gallons of biocrude oil on an annual basis.

Such is the amount of waste that is being squandered instead of being utilized to benefit humanity.

Sewage has been thought to be a second-rate material for producing biocrude oil. That is because it is considered to be too wet. Drying comes to the rescue here.

Some of the technologies required for this are said to be too costly and intensive for comfort. Using hydrothermal liquefaction, human waste can be converted to more primitive materials.

3000 pounds of pressure per square inch causes the waste to undergo certain changes. Then the waste enters a reactor where it is heated to 660 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is all in all a very complex process that has been perfected by science. Yet in the end like magic, the waste materials end up in the form of biocrude oil.

Funding schemes for this mega-futuristic project are being brought into consideration at present.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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