Filed under: All, Blog Posts for Class | Tags: alternative energy, autos, Bio-fuel, Biodiesel, Biofuel, cars, diesel, gasoline, petroleum industry
Money might not grow on trees, but diesel could according to Gary Strobel, a professor at Montana State University.
Strobel discovered that fungi growing in the Patagonian forests of South America are capable of producing gaseous diesel. The fungus, G. roseum grows on the Ulmo tree, and produces toxic fumes used to kill off competing species of fungus. Upon closer study, Strobel discovered that these fumes are “virtually identical” in structure to diesel. In fact, it’s a sufficiently close match that he claims the fumes would be adequate to power a diesel engine.
What makes the fungus a potential source for diesel is that the fungus is able to turn cellulose – the fibres in plant material – directly into diesel. This skips the fermentation process that normally occurs during the production of biodiesel, saving time and money. While G. roseum is found on the Ulmo tree in the wild, it could create fuel on any form of cellulose, be it trees, wood, sawdust or leftover husks after harvests.
Given its potential as a truly renewable source of energy, this fungus is certain to be a hot topic in the coming months and years.
Coutoure, J. The New Diesel Fuel… From Fungi? Sympatico/MSN autos. Nov. 10, 2008. http://en.autos.sympatico.msn.ca/GreenCentre/article.aspx?cp-documentid=12544462#toolbar Accessed Nov. 12, 2008.