Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium have developed a process that produces jet fuel from grass.
Grass is first pretreated to increase biodegradability. Then enriched Clostridium bacteria, similar to the “good bacteria” found in the gut, are used to ferment the sugars in the grass into lactic acid and its derivatives.
The lactic acid can already serve as an intermediate chemical to produce other compounds such as biodegradable plastics. But in this case, the lactic acid is converted into caproic acid which is further converted into products such as decane, which is one of the main ingredients of gasoline and jet fuel.
Currently the amount of biofuel that has been made from grass is limited to a few drops and the current process is expensive. But the researchers believe that their results indicate that the overall conversion has the potential to be highly efficient.