Extreme temperatures and drought in the US and Eastern Europe this summer have led to a hike in grain prices, whilst the poorest people in the world face malnutrition as the price of food staples rises. In the US 40% of food-quality corn is being used to produce fuel, as mandated by the US Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires 15 billion gallons of domestic corn ethanol to be blended into the US fuel supply by 2022.

But people need not go hungry to create biofuel, says Lars Hansen of Novozymes, a company producing enzymes that can break down carbon-based plant matter to create ethanol. “If ...


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