Drivers on many of the nation’s paved highways and byways may soon have an unlikely source to thank for those smooth roads – swine manure.
NuVention Solution, an Ohio-based company, is in the process of developing a marketable asphalt-binding additive made from hog manure.
“Do you know we have 900 million tons of animal waste a year,” NuVention President Jim Sattler asked a CNBC reporter.
NuVention is putting the waste to good use, though the company doesn’t turn to other livestock species for their manure needs. Instead, they prefer pig manure.
NuVention’s pig-waste additive can replace up to 14 percent of asphalt.
Currently a pilot project in Missouri using the swine manure liquid asphalt material showed “no signs of deterioration” and “still appears to be performing well after having been in place for a year. “
Sattler notes that his company has received about $1.5 million in grants from various Ohio agencies. NuVention is building a plant for 750 hogs to show “proof of concept.”
In addition, the company plans to builds a barn for 2,500 hogs.
The manure-based asphalt is also being developed for other needs, such as roofing.
As most would be eager to learn, the product has very little odor to it.
"It smells a bit at the mixing plant," Sattler admits, "but on the road you can't smell it."
According to Sattler, the smell is similar to a cigar ash tray, though the company is working to eliminate the odor.
Unfortunately, presently the cost of using swine manure in asphalt doesn’t save money, but developers hope that as oil-based asphalt becomes harder to come by in the near future, manure-based asphalt will become plentiful, making it an effective solution.
Tests show that the product allows pavers to use more recycled asphalt in the final material than currently used, saving $2,000 to $4,000 per lane mile.