April 10, 2006

America's Feedlots: Breaking the US Foreign Oil Habit

Gasoline from Manure
A Japanese researcher has developed a process for producing gasoline from manure. This is wonderful news, especially for those who were disappointed to discover that America's grain farmers weren't going to be able to solve our myriad energy problems with ethanol.
Sakae Shibusawa, an agriculture engineering professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, said his team has successfully extracted .042 ounces of gasoline from every 3.5 ounces of cow dung by applying high pressure, a catalyst, and heat.
Cattle produce plenty of manure. I can only hope the Japanese process is efficient, unlike the net energy consuming process for producing the less powerful ethanol currently in vogue. Instead of making relatively low-energy alcohol from grain, we could feed the grain to cattle and let them help turn the grain into good old high-test gasoline.

An added bonus, which should be considered in the efficiency calculus, we would get to eat the cows as they fatten. Effectively, we would be eating that part of the grain which the cows couldn't turn into manure. It sounds efficient.

Give us real gasoline and real meat!
I tip my hat to Scott Segal at nerac for this great news.

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