MIT engineers take a step in the direction of renewable diesel, according to an article from MIT News. Chemical engineers, led by Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering Biotechnology at MIT, have reportedly genetically reprogrammed a strain of yeast so that it converts plant sugars into oils much more efficiently. The discovery could pave the way for the renewable production of high-energy fuels like diesel, according to the article.
The researchers reportedly were able to modify the metabolic pathways of the yeast to make them about 30% more efficient and capable of producing oils at very high yields. According to MIT, the advance could make the production of renewable high energy fuels economically feasible. Stephanopoulos and his team are working on improvements toward that goal. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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