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."