Can biofuels based on mushrooms replace conventional jet fuel?

Could biofuels derived from fungi, to become a complete substitute for conventional jet fuel? Washington University is developing aviation biofuels based on fungi which can be competitive on the open market.

Until this occurs, but Dr. Birgitte K. Aring (Dr Birgitte K. Ahring), director of the Laboratory Bioproizvodstvennyh Science and Engineering of the University of the State of Washington, believes that this could happen soon.

Fungi produce a mixture of hydrocarbons, similar to jet fuel. They, of course, produce a variety of complex chemical processes, which when repeated in artificial conditions of production, leading to an increase in prices of other biofuels. This would mean that biofuels based on mushrooms has lower production costs.

Dr. Aring and her colleagues hope to biofuels based on mushrooms, and bring it to market in the next five years.

Mushroom based biofuels is likely debut in the commercial market as an additive which can be mixed with conventional fuel in amounts up to 50%. This relationship will continue to grow until, in the next 10 to 20 years, based biofuels mushrooms will be ready to fully replace conventional aviation fuel.

The team of the University of Washington began with a search of this type of biofuel, which would be more like a conventional fuel than ethanol. They considered a variety of bacteria and algae. Then, in 2011, the team tested the fungus which often worked in the laboratory. To his surprise turned to produce a mixture of hydrocarbons, which “is very similar to what is considered normal jet fuel.”

The main objective is to make the fungi produce more hydrocarbons than they normally produce. Dr. Aring and colleagues recall that it took more than five years to develop antibiotics, as an example of how long the process may take. Once they are a strain which “is interesting enough to produce a larger scale,” they relocate from the laboratory to production.

“Our university has a small pilot plant, which is very unique. Bioproizvodstvennyh Laboratory Science and Engineering was established to help the bioeconomy, especially in the state of Washington, and we focus on producing products that will go to the market,” says Aring.

21 May 2015

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