Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered a fungus that exists in elephant dung that will help them to break down fibres and wood into biofuel.
Bioethanol firms currently extract sugars from crops such as grains and sugar beet, but some are develpoing technologies to extract energy from fibre such as wheat bran, straw or wood.
Scientists working for Royal Nedalco, the Delft University of Technology and a firm called Bird Engineering have found a fungus in elephant dung that helped them produce a yeast which can efficiently ferment wood sugars.
Production based on the new method can start as early as 2009, though it will take longer for most of the new feedstocks to become commercially available.
For wheat residues we cab be cost competitive in about 5 years, but converting wood int ethanol will take a bit longer.