A team of researchers at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University is testing a substance made from pig manure to use as an asphalt binder to replace petroleum-based products, according to a report by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Civil Engineer Ellie Fini and partners, with support from the NSF, has created a product that costs 56 cents per gallon to process and is holding up to “rigorous” testing.
Fini and her co-researchers have filed patents on the product and have created a company named Bio-Adhesive Alliance. Their plan is to provide a “win-win solution” for farmers and the construction industry. Odorous components are filtered out during the processing, the researchers say, and the leftover byproducts can be used as fertilizer.
Fini’s team has tested the product in an asphalt mixture, simulating thousands of truck passes over it. “It shouldn’t rut and it shouldn’t crack at low temperatures,” says Fini. The researchers say it has passed various DOT specs.
The NSF has provided several grants from its Directorate for Engineering program and its Innovation Corps program. The latter preps scientists and engineers “to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.”