In Illinois, a project looking to convert pig manure and food waste into biobased binding material for road construction and roofing shingles has won a prestigious pitch competition.
Conceived by Yuanhui Zhang, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor and founder of the Environment-Enhancing Energy Laboratory, the project will receive $2.5 million from the USDA’s Bioproduct Pilot Program. The pig poop project is one of three proposals to be allocated funding.
“This grant is going to be more like a demonstration,” Zhang said. “We’ll be reducing the greenhouse emissions; it’s both an energy and environment enhancement using waste materials.” The team will convert the wastes into biocrude oil and use the heavier components to improve recycled asphalt. The three-year project will evaluate the commercial viability of the idea.