As an asphalt paving company, we’re always interested in the latest news from the industry. Recently, we found out that pig manure is actually a really good substitute for asphalt, which means the future of asphalt production may be quite environmentally friendly.
According to several sources, North Carolina Agriculture & Technology State University’s Dr. Elham Fini has been studying this process for eight years. At the Sustainable Infrastructure Materials Laboratory, Fini and her team have been able to successfully turn pig manure into asphalt at about half the price of a normal manufacturer. As a result, the U.S Department of Transportation has put its stamp of approved on the process.
The synthetic bio-oil produced by pigs has a similar composition to the oil in regular petroleum. The grade is too low to make gasoline, but it’s an easy substitute for the petroleum used in asphalt. In order to get the bio-oil, however, the manure needs to undergo a specific treatment of pressure, heat, and oxygenation. which can be a little tricky.
Fini isn’t the first to create asphalt from pig manure; back in 2010, a company called Innoventor worked with Pace Construction to pave a section of St. Louis road with the material. However, Fini and her team have formed a company called Bio-Adhesive Alliance, Inc. in order to put the material into large-scale production. She boasts that her asphalt reduces C02 emissions during construction, can work with a high percentage of recycled asphalt, and can stand up to cold weather, making it a versatile option for much of the country.
The bio-asphalt is being put through several tests (including a simulation where trucks make 20,000 passes over it) to determine its strength under actual road conditions. So far, the material has shown promise and has passed Department of Transportation specifications. This means we may see a whole lot more of this pig material in the future.