Human Waste Used As Manure For Switchgrass Crops Turned To Biofuel - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Human Waste Used As Manure For Switchgrass Crops Turned To Biofuel

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PROSSER, Wash.-- The fuel in your gas tank could soon be coming from human waste, all thanks to recycling.

"We have constantly a need to find a use for the waste that society produces instead of just putting it on a landfill," said Hal Collins, Researcher and Microbiologist for the USDA.

The waste is spread on the soil for switchgrass crops, but before it must be treated.

"Pathogens have been reduced, toxins have been taken out, it's a solid material not a liquid material that we get," said Collins.

In July, Waste Management in Richland gave three truckloads of wastewater to researchers at WSU Prosser. The treated waste was spread on switchgrass in Paterson. Reseachers say learning how to grow the switchgrass could take months.

"This is called big blue stem, this is the second growth , we already had this crop in July for biofuels," said Steven Fransen, Agronomist with WSU Prosser.  

Researchers in Prosser are testing 12 different kinds of switchgrass and the regular corn crop, to see which crop could produce more fuel. Crops that could help the environment and the economy.

"In this case we're going to be producing fuel that is going to go into your gas tanks," said Fransen.

Fransen says switchgrass crops in Prosser are of very high quality, all they need now is one more thing.

"We need some bio refineries, so we create a market," said Fransen.