Fuel-Making Fungus. Ew.

fuel making fungus ew

Gentlemen, start your tractors. LiveScience reports that scientists have discovered a diesel fuel-making fungus that outperforms existing bio-fuel production methods. Current bio-fuel processes are dependent on enzymes to convert cellulose into sugar before microbes are used to ferment the sugar into ethanol. Gliocladium roseum, the newly-found hungry fungus, inhabits in certain Patagonia rainforest trees. It feeds on cellulose to produce hydrocarbons called “myco-diesel.” With G. roseum, you skip the the sugar conversion and fermentation process. If this process can be commercialized, it could contribute to making bio-diesel a long-term viable alternative to pumping crude out of the earth. If not, not.

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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Nov 06, 2008
    Since we already have shitloads of Natural Gas, why don’t we just use it? Several reasons. Natural gas: * Isn't as energy-dense * Is very difficult to store. You give up a lot of trunk space for that tank, * Is more prone to accidental ignition. You can (and I've tried) put a lit match out by submerging it in gasoline. You absolutely cannot do that with CNG * Is very difficult to dispense. Commercial systems are slow and expensive. Home systems like Phill are cheaper, but agnozingly slow (like, "eight hours to fill a tank" slow) * Requires a more expensive distribution system * Is not a viable option for many engines without a redesign. It's especially ill-suited to small-displacements. I like CNG/LPG: it burns very clean, but it's not really suited to use outside certain circumstances. It also fails to address the unlocked carbon issue. The reason this fungus is a good thing is that it produces a fuel that solves most of these issues and doesn't release previously-locked carbon into the atmosphere.

  • Akitadog Akitadog on Nov 06, 2008

    Hot hippy-chick has the right idea. Seriously, this is an excellent development in the world of renewable fuels! Leave it to the scientists to make the fungus more efficient and productive (like they've done with cows and milk production) and this is a winner all around. I've got to find out more, and where can I invest?

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Nov 06, 2008

    psarhjinian - you are rightish about CNG, wrong about LPG. An OEM LPG installation, using a tank that fits in place of the gasoline tank, will typically give you 2/3 -3/4 of the range of the gasoline vehicle. Emissions can be better, power is typically down by 10% because the gas displaces air in the charge, but that disadvantage will be removed when we go to direct injection, which will happen in the next five years I think. The octane rating is higher so down the track you could see better power with LPG. LPG is a pretty sensible fuel, it is popular in Australia. Probably half of urban service stations carry it. Refueling takes longer than a gasoline car, but not much.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 06, 2008

    It's likely a good idea, but what did they make all the fuel cans lined up behind her out of? Soy? Also, the problem with NG is that when you drill, you often find oil instead. The NG used to be considered an undesirable byproduct in many foreign sites because the cost to make the pipeline was too high. They just burn it off. It will be interesting to see what $50 oil does to NG. I am still thinking it's closer to $80 by summer though.