Is pig poop the future of pavement?
We have all heard the story of the three little pigs. That third little pig was an engineering pro who stopped the Big Bad Wolf from blowing his house down. That was a great story, but what pigs could do for the future of transportation is no fairy tale.
Although still in the testing stage, students at North Carolina A&T State University and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to explore the possibilities of using pig manure as a binder, or bio-adhesive, for an asphalt substitute. Currently, asphalt requires petroleum, which is a fossil fuel and cannot be replenished as quickly.
With asphalt created with bio-adhesives, the opposite is true. According to a video produced by the NSF, 43 billion pounds of swine manure is generated in one year. In fact, some places in the world have so much pig waste that their water supplies are being contaminated. At 56 cents per gallon this renewable resource could pave the road for a more environmentally and financially-sound solution to fossil fuel dependency.
It’s not just the transportation industry that could benefit from successful bio-adhesive roads; the farming industry around the world would still be able to use the leftovers from the manufacturing process as fertilizer.
Think this idea is full of it? Check out The National Science Foundation’s video for a closer look at how the process is being tested. And tell us what you think. Would you be willing to travel down a road made from pig poop?