Converting petroleum into fuels involves crude chemistry first invented by humans in the 1800s. Meanwhile, bacteria have been producing carbon-based energy molecules for billions of years. Which do you think is better at the job?

A group of biofuel experts led by Berkeley Lab took inspiration from an extraordinary antifungal molecule made by Streptomyces bacteria to develop a totally new type of fuel that has projected energy density greater than the most advanced heavy-duty fuels used today, including the rocket fuels used by NASA.

Biologist Benjamin Cole is digging into a new frontier of plant science that combines advanced genetic techniques, computer modeling, and real-world experiments to study plant cells’ sophisticated interactions and make new discoveries about the species that we rely on for food, fuel, and health.