A few items of fuel news from the practical — van pools — to the experimental — a fungus that shows promise in lignin digestion.
If it's legal where you live, running a van pool is one way you could recoup your fuel costs from commuting.
Photo by Fotolia/Robert Wilson
If you commute 30 miles or more round trip to work, you may be able to eliminate your costs for that travel — and turn a tidy profit besides — by running a van pool, says the Alliance to Save Energy. The idea isn't for everyone (some states prohibit such businesses, for example), but the organization claims that people who do qualify can expect to net a 24% after-tax profit from the enterprise. You can find out more by purchasing Vanpooling for Profit: A Business Opportunity, a government publication which details applicable state regulations and provides instructions for estimating the profitability of such an undertaking.
Maybe fairy goblets will solve our energy problems. According to the USDA's Agriculture Research Service, fairy goblets — a variety of bird's nest fungus found primarily on dead and rotting wood — display an extraordinary ability to "eat" lignin, the ·glue-like substance that holds plant cells together. Fairy goblets, say the scientists, could be used to free the fermentable sugars from leaves, stalks, and stems. Then yet another biological helpmate, yeast, would convert the liberated sugars to fuel-grade alcohol.
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