A spinoff from N.C. A&T State University will use the campus’ research farm to house its high-tech asphalt processing operation, a process that seeks to both lower costs and provide a useful recycling avenue for hog waste.
Bio-Adhesive Alliance is currently reviewing bids for what will be a mobile facility that could operate both at N.C. A&T itself and be moved to other locations, said Elham Fini, the professor of civil engineering whose research spawned the startup. Bids on the project have ranged from $400,000 to $500,000, and Fini said she hopes to select a contractor by the end of this month and have the facility finished by next August.
Fini’s goal is to commercialize a process that replaces petroleum-based binders in asphalt with converted waste from the hog farms that currently present a huge environmental problem in North Carolina. The hog waste-based binder could cost about one-quarter the amount of the petroleum binder, the company believes, and generate fertilizer ingredients as a by-product.
Bio-Adhesive Alliance’s cost estimates of $0.54 per gallon of binder are based on Elham’s earlier research, and Fini said having reviewed designs for a larger-scale production facility, those estimates look to be holding up.