An interesting new story from Popular Science details a particularly unique frontier in the world of urban planning and transportation infrastructure: pig manure as paving material. (Yes, you read that right.) Ellie Fini, a civil engineer at North Carolina A&T State University, has filed a patent request for a paving aggregate developed with her team at the institution. The new material would combine "swine manure" with sand or gravel. "Typically you see asphalt made from [unsustainably extracted] petroleum used on the road," explains Fini in a video you can watch below, produced by the National Science Foundation and released earlier today.
Pig manure presents a suitable, and sustainable, alternative. Popular Science puts it thusly:
In addition to being smelly, lagoons of pig waste near farms have contaminated water supplies during major flooding events, and are generally seen as a nuisance. Many researchers are trying to find ways to make pig waste more useful. In addition to the asphalt efforts, other researchers are working on ways to reduce the amount of ammonia in waste making it a less noxious fertilizer, and extract methane from the waste, which could be used as an energy source.
Pig manure could pave the road to a new sustainable asphalt, thanks to civil engineer Ellie Fini and a team at North Carolina A&T State University. Fini and her partners have filed patents on the technology and set up a company called Bio-Adhesive Alliance. Watch and share how this #NSFfunded formula is being engineered and tested. It may be coming to a road near you: 1.usa.gov/28XHQYd And yes, they’ve dealt with the "aroma" issue! #scienceiscool #environmentalengineer #womeninstem #womenengineers
It’s the most recent example of a novel paving material riding into the spotlight: Last week, we reported that a section of the country’s famed Route 66 in Missouri will be covered with solar pavers, which, like photovoltaic panels, store solar energy. Solar Roadways is overseeing that work.