Ethanol, methanol and butanol all share a common thread. Besides all being alcohols which are used as fuels, some to a greater degree than others, they can also be manufactured via standard chemical reactions. None of them seem to offer the perfect replacement for petroleum based gasoline. Here is another question worth considering: Is gasoline the best possible fuel for automotive use? What about diesel? Do any of the existing fuel options have the best chemical make-up? Let me level with you here... all of that is over my head at this time. I would love to know more about the chemistry that would determine the answers to these questions, and in fact have been reading up on the subject. But, I'm no expert. Fortunately, the company known as Amyris Biotechnologies is full of just that type of expert. And, now that they are close to cracking their first round of synthetic genetic engineering, that of a better cure for malaria, they have turned their attention to the biofuel industry. For an interesting read on their efforts, click here.
[Source: Technology Review]