In 1916, Chaim Weizmann
-- then a professor of chemistry at the University of Manchester, and eventually the first president of Israel -- discovered a method for turning simple sugars into diesel fuel by fermenting it in the presence of the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum.
Weizmann's work was groundbreaking, but it was also mostly ignored, as cheap fossil fuels made his process look extremely inefficient and costly by comparison. With the shine taken off of fossil fuels, though, and scientists looking for the new ways to power the future, researchers are revisiting Weizmann's work,
which could turn a wide variety of starches into cleaner burning fuels.