Scientists recently developed a method to convert sewage into biocrude oil, so it appears that our future will quite literally be shit. According to a report from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, researchers converted poop to oil using a process called hydrothermal liquefaction. PNNL explains that hydrothermal liquefaction “mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.”
Basically, scientists run the shit heated to 650 degrees Fahrenheit through a tube with pressures of 3,000 pounds per square inch. What emerges is a watery liquid—yum—called “biocrude” that shares many properties with petroleum. This isn’t the first poop-to-fuel converter scientists have created. In 2013, Korean engineers developed a strain of E. Coli that creates gasoline. And in March of this year, scientists at UCLA announced they want to use shit to power cars.
PNNL estimates that one person—someone like you—would spawn two to three gallons of biocrude a year. Congratulations tech world, shitting is finally productive. Soon, you won’t even need to plan when you gotta go.