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Researchers in Spain have demonstrated that they can transform fungus directly into commercial-grade biodiesel.Through a process we admittedly don't pretend to completely understand, the fungus mucor circinelloides is made into ASTM-D6751-spec biodiesel without first having its oils extracted, a process called direct transesterification. For all you home-brew folks, or for those familiar with the process of good, old-fashioned transesterification, this all sounds pretty cool.

It's not an easy time to be a biofuel promoter. Plug-ins are getting all of the automaker and government support, and lingering questions about biofuel's impact on the environment and food prices can have people shying away. When it comes to biodiesel, dealing with different levels of the plant-based fuel in the petroleum and questions about OEM warranty issues can impact a person's or fleet's decision whether or not to use B5 or B20 or B99 or stick with straight petroleum.

Whether it's an ASTM-like or sustainability standard, there are a lot of ideas floating around to make biofuels like biodiesel and ethanol (and also upcoming fuels like biobutanol) more acceptable. The latest is to use a biofuels index to rate a particular fuel's positive or negative environmental impact, courtesy of a group of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The idea for the ratings system (think four stars or thumbs up/down) came from a report from UC Berkeley's Energy a

We know Daryl Hannah and Willie Nelson are big into biodiesel. In Singapore recently, the Sustainable Biofuels Alliance (set up by the two celebs and biodiesel producers Bob and Kelly King) got its start by asking for sustainable standards for biofuels in the United States, according to Reuters.

The biodiesel industry is rather fractured, and one company is challenging the loose standards it sees by promoting a new fuel. Blue Sun Biodiesel says more than 60 percent of the biodiesel fuel produced in the U.S. does not meet ASTM standards. The company says its new fuel, called Blue Sun Fusion, goes beyond those standards. According to the company, government incentives have spurred growth in the biodiesel industry but many facilities are strugglng to meet accepted standards or are trying u