Researcher Yanhui Zhang says years of research and refinement are ahead before such a notion could be commercially viable, but the results seen so far indicate there might be big benefits for farmers and consumers.
The thermochemical conversion process uses intense heat and pressure to break down the molecular structure of manure into oil. It's much like the natural process that turns organic matter into oil over centuries, but in the laboratory the process can take as little as a half-hour.
Converting manure is sure to catch the attention of swine producers. Safe containment of livestock waste is costly for farmers and odors produced by swine farms have made them a nuisance to neighbors.