Fungi Fuel

Will tomorrow's cars run on fungi fuel? As gas prices are set to rise, I thought it'd be interesting to point to recent biomass fuel efforts by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories. The Sandia team is modifying an endophytic fungus so that it will produce hydrocarbons, which work well as fuels for internal combustion engines. According to Sandia biochemist Masood Hadi, the fungi digest crystalline cellulosic material and produce fuel-type hydrocarbons as a by-product of their metabolic processes -- an event that requires no mechanical breakdown.

Through genetic manipulation, the scientists hope to improve the yield and tailor the molecular structure of the hydrocarbons it produces. Researcher John Dec said, "“The new fuels will have to work well with both existing engines and advanced engines, like HCCI or low-temperature diesel combustion. Only then will you be able to sell the fuel at the pump and get your new high-efficiency, low-emissions engine into the marketplace.”

Take a look at the Sandia National Laboratories work, and send me your comments. What do you think about these types of potential biofuels and their future in the marketplace?