Researchers are currently devising a way of converting poop into fuel, meaning our future will literally run on shit. A little on the nose, isn’t it science?
The Verge reports that our diarrhetic destiny involves the conversion of sewage into a crude oil, made so by heating the noxious sludge up to around 650 degrees and pressurizing it to 3,000 pounds per square inch. It’s called hydrothermal liquefication, and it mimics natural conditions that would normally take millions of years.
Here’s some more, courtesy of the the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:
“There is plenty of carbon in municipal waste water sludge and interestingly, there are also fats,” said Corinne Drennan, who is responsible for bioenergy technologies research at PNNL. “The fats or lipids appear to facilitate the conversion of other materials in the wastewater such as toilet paper, keep the sludge moving through the reactor, and produce a very high quality biocrude that, when refined, yields fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuels.”
Mmm! The PNNL has found this method to be efficient enough that it may become a reality, and one company has already licensed the technology. It could begin testing as soon as 2018.