Energy doesn’t grow on trees. Except in Patagonia, maybe.

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. 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.

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