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NIST Chemists Get Scoop on Crude 'Oil' from Pig Manure Video Transcript

Pig waste as fuel video description for the visually impaired (back to news release)

Text on screen: NIST studies biofuel made of pig manure

Visual: Hand holds a sealed glass jar containing a black fluid.

Tom Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking. A computer monitor, tubes and other instruments are visible in the background.

Bruno: "My name is Tom Bruno, I'm a research chemist at NIST, and I lead a research group that works on separations research."

Visual: Bruno and two female researchers stand before a chemical hood looking at a lab notebook. Each is wearing blue latex gloves and safety glasses.

Bruno: "In the area of fuel properties, in the last two years, we've developed what's called the advanced distillation curve approach."

Visual: A clear liquid passing through a complex series of glass tubes.

Bruno: "The advanced distillation curve is a method of measuring the volatility of complex fluids such as fuels."

Visual: A female researcher wearing blue latex gloves and safety glasses stands in front of the chemical hood intently checking the fluid with a glass tool.

Bruno: "These fluids are not really amenable to a page in a chemical handbook because there are thousands and thousands of components."

Visual: Drops of clear liquid rapidly fall into a test tube.

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "So what you do is put it into a flask like this, and you boil it, and you measure the temperature at which each fraction comes over."

Visual: Bruno's hand reaches to a shiny, squat aluminum cylinder resting on a countertop and lifts a glass container out of the cylinder before replacing it.

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "Now that's a classical measurement, it's been measured for many years. What we've introduced are ways to make the measurement much less uncertain and much more information-rich. We use new sampling devices, such as the one shown here, to analyze each cut, and I mean tiny fractional cuts on the fly."

Visual: A pair of blue latex-gloved hands holds a syringe, using it to extract a sample of a clear fluid flowing over it inside of a glass apparatus.

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "As a matter of fact, we have a collaboration with the University of Illinois, in which Professor Zhang's group is actually making a crude oil substitute out of pig manure."

Visual: A pair of full grown, slightly dirty, pink pigs standing next to each other in a pen. A lone full grown pig. A piglet standing next to a fence in a pen.

Bruno: "Now here you have a material that's a complete nuisance, it has no value whatsoever, but his research group has been able to turn it into a fluid, and I have a little bit of it here, that's very similar to a crude oil."

Visual: Bruno's hand holds a glass jar full of an inky black liquid. The label reads "Pig manure from University of Illinois".

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "We've applied our advanced distillation curve ...

Visual: Two female scientists standing before the chemical hood enclosure. The one in the foreground takes notes while the one in the background removes samples using a syringe.

Bruno: ... approach to that fluid, and we can use it to determine what areas that the pig manure fuel can be used in.'

Visual: Clear liquid drains down a long glass tube and drips rapidly into another container. A blue latex gloved hand writes figures in a lab notebook.

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "Biofuels are important because, as we all know, using petroleum-based fuels is like living off your grandad's inheritance. I mean, it's fun for a while but when the money starts to run out it's not so much fun anymore."

Visual: Bruno's hand holds up a glass container. Inside the container is another chamber filled with an inky black liquid.

Bruno tilts the container back and forth.

Bruno, sitting in his lab, speaking.

Bruno: "Using biofuels provides a renewable source that can be used in perpetuity. So, while we don't make biofuels, we're providing industry with the underlying data that's needed for them to design engines and processes based on biofuels."

Text on screen: For further information about the National Institute of Standards and Technology, visit

Produced by NIST Public Affairs

Videography by Breck Larson

Video editing by Tom Tragert

For further information: NIST Web site:, inquiries [at] (inquiries[at]nist[dot]gov)

Created May 4, 2011, Updated January 3, 2017