Dalhousie researcher bypasses petroleum
By Chronicle Herald
January 23, 2015 - Using technology that was only a “vision” two decades ago, a Nova Scotia researcher hopes to help farmers make gasoline and medical drugs from manure and other waste.
“The farmers are struggling,” Sophia Quan He, an assistant professor in Dalhousie University’s faculty of agriculture, said in an interview.
“So if we can really make some fuels and chemicals from this kind of agriculture waste, potentially, hopefully, we can create new jobs and even create a new industry within this agriculture umbrella.”
The chemical engineer and her team are taking what’s known as low-value biomass or waste from the farm, such as straw and food processing waste, along with forestry waste like branches and sawdust and even algae, to make an economically viable alternative to gasoline, diesel and other petroleum-based products.
The technology is called hydrothermal liquefaction and works like a pressure cooker, He said.