ABCTech has an interesting article about an Emeryville-based tech startup, Amyris Biotechnologies, that is planning to use microbes to turn sugar into diesel. Ethanol is made by adding sugar to yeast, but Amyris believes that it can reprogram the microbes to make something closer to gasoline. The company was initially given a $43 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to attempt to research the applications of Synthetic Biology for making a cost-effective malaria drug. Jack Newman, the Vice-President of Amyris said, "Why are we making ethanol if we're trying to make a fuel? We should be making something that looks a lot more like gasoline. We should be making something that looks a lot more like diesel. And if you wanted to design, you name it, a jet fuel? We can make that too."
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