The natural world still has plenty of surprises waiting for us, it seems. Scientists have discovered a Patagonian rainforest fungus that produces something pretty close to diesel by consuming cellulose:
The fungus, called Gliocladium roseum and discovered growing inside the ulmo tree (Eucryphia cordifolia) in northern Patagonia, produces a range of hydrocarbon molecules that are virtually identical to the fuel-grade compounds in existing fossil fuels.
Of course, burning the stuff is going to do as much environmental harm as the oil-based equivalent, but if they can scale up the process it might be an attractive renewable alternative to making fuels from dwindling oil supplies or otherwise useful food crops.
2 thoughts on “Energy doesn’t grow on trees. Except in Patagonia, maybe.”
1. I think energy does grow on trees outside Patagonia, in the form of wood fuel.
2. Also, I understand that in certain circumstances trees may turn into coal.
3. Or oil.
4. Also, burning the fungus won’t do “as much” harm as burning oil, because it is renewable.
Sorry, Steve; I’ll aim to make my posts more straight-faced and serious in future. 😉
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