Scientists Are Working to Convert Waste into Fuel
Researchers at UCLA are working to develop a method to convert the 1 billion tons of manure (including human waste) produced in the US every year into biofuel that could be used to fuel cars. These “poop-powered” vehicles would potentially solve two problems – the issue of disposing such a large amount of manure that is responsible for producing greenhouse gases like methan and nitrous oxide, and finding a satisfactory replacement for non-renewable fuels (like gasoline).
The team, led by David Wernick, is studying the biology of a bacteria called Bacillus subtilis, “which they hope to be able to utilize in order to convert waste protein into alcohols that, when combusted, release high amounts of energy,” according to IFLScience.com. This fuel also wouldn’t require any modifications to existing automobiles, unlike ethanol, which also produces less energy than gaoline.
“In order to have a secure, sustainable supply of energy in the future, it is important that we pursue renewable technologies such as we’re doing,” Wernick said.