Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cattle Dung Used to Make Gasoline

Scientists in Japan said they have found cattle dung could be a new source of gasoline. Full article here.

Quick Summary:
  • Sakae Shibusawa and his team extracted 0.042 ounces of gasoline for every 3.5 ounces of cow dung.
  • The team added unspecified metal catalysts to dung in a container at 30-atmospheric pressure and up to 300 degrees Celsius.
  • The scientists hope to improve the technology so that it can be used commercially in five years.
  • Japan produces about 551,155 tons of cattle dung each year.
  • A separate experiment showed vanillin, which is used in shampoos and candles, can be extracted from cow dung.

My $0.02: According to my calculations, Japan could extract 1,653,465 gallons of gasoline from all of the cow dung in Japan in a year with the current process. The resourcefulness of such a process is great. I hope that other countries implement similar processes for their cow dung. I'm just wondering what metal catalysts the scientists used to get the gasoline. As far as the vanillin is concerned, I don't think people would be exactly enthusiastic to know that part of their shampoo used to be cow dung.

Additional $0.02 (March 17, 2006): Though I still admire the resourcefulness of such a process, I have now reconsidered my position. Gasoline is already bad enough for the enviroment. When humans inevitably run out of a natural supply of crude oil for making gasoline, then they will be forced to use more environmentally friendly processes. However, if a gasoline supply is still available, people will continue to drive and emit toxic pollutants. Such conversions, therefore, are actually bad for the environment.

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