Science Daily reported yesterday that a team from the University of Exeter, supported by Shell, has developed a method to make E. coli bacteria produce diesel fuel on demand.

Biodiesels generally have a disadvantage, in that they differ chemically from petroleum fuels in some ways. So, they often have to be blended with petroleum products. However, the fuel produced by the Exeter team’s modified E. coli bacteria is a so-called “drop-in” fuel, which means that it need not be modified. It is, for all intents and purposes, the same as diesel derived from fossil fuels. That means it can be used in existing vehicles and infrastructure, making it an attractive potential alternative to traditional diesel.

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