Engineers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a process that could produce cleaner and cheaper biofuels.

The team has found a natural bacterium in compost waste – made up of wheat straw and saw dust, and generated by mushroom farming, which ‘converts plant-based material to butanol directly’.

 

“The production of biofuels using non-food feedstocks can improve sustainability and reduce costs greatly. This is a major breakthrough in metabolic engineering and exhibits a foundational milestone in sustainable and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and chemicals,” said Associate Professor He Jianzhong from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NUS.

 

Biobutanol is an ideal and low-cost alternative to petrol and can be used in current car engines.

Biofuels are increasingly be developed using a variety of sustainable feedstocks, including whisky residues, household waste, and wood-based materials.