Researchers at Michigan State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been testing different kinds of particleboard, fiberboard and extruded lumber made from manure. The waste is first processed in an "anaerobic digester" which breaks down the manure in a contained fashion. Methane gas and liquid fertilizer are the useful byproducts that come from this process, and now, the solid component is finding a use.
The product is being manufactured using processed, sterilized manure in place of wood chips. Combining the material with resins and applying heat and pressure, as is done with the wood-based versions of these products, results in a board that has equal or better structural properties than the wood-based versions.
"It appears that the fibers interlock with each other better than wood," said Charles Gould at Michigan State's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "We end up with, I think, a superior material." (msnbc)
This is a literal example of a waste stream becoming a source of raw material for another process. We'll see if this becomes a viable commercial product or if the *ewwww* factor is just too much for consumers to bear.
written by Janis Mara, March 23, 2007
written by linda, April 10, 2007
written by diplas, February 08, 2008
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