A fungus that lives inside trees in the Patagonian rain forest naturally makes a mix of hydrocarbons that bears a striking resemblance to diesel, biologists announced today. And the fungus can grow on cellulose, a major component of tree trunks, blades of grass and stalks that is the most abundant carbon-based plant material on Earth.
“When we looked at the gas analysis, I was flabbergasted,” said Gary Strobel, a plant scientist at Montana State University, and the lead author of a paper in Microbiology describing the find. “We were looking at the essence of diesel fuel.”
Even if something like this isn’t feasible for industrial production, where you have to account to feedstock transportation, distribution, capital costs of building a fermenter, blah blah blah, it could be very nice on a local level. Just bury a pot in the compost bin out back, and come back to a full gas tank every now and then.