Converting raw sewage into fuel


'Each time you flush a toilet, it’s the beginning of a long journey. Your waste makes its way through a maze of pipes and sewers, eventually reaching its first destination: a sewage treatment plant. There, liquids are separated from solids, and each goes through a different multi-step process to neutralize toxins. Once they’re pure enough, liquids are discharged into nearby surface water (a river, lake, or canal), while solids go to a landfill or are further treated to be used as fertilizer.

What if at the end of this long journey, instead of a landfill there was energy? What if you could fuel your car by going to the bathroom? As far-fetched as this idea sounds, it’s becoming a reality.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Canada have successfully taken raw sewage and converted it to what they call biocrude oil, which can be refined in the same way as crude oil to make fuels like gasoline and diesel.'

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