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A Sea of Algae and Alkanes

Joule, a biotech company focusing on biofuels, is to announce that it has received a patent for its genetically-modified, alkane-secreting cyanobacteria, reports the New York Times. The bacterium continuously produces the fuel using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, and the company says it is the first to patent such an organism. The US Department of Energy's Eric Toone says that a photosynthetic, fuel-producing organism is "an important step" toward fuel production. The chief executive of Joule, William Sims, tells the Times that their goal was not for this organism to be an alternative to fossil fuels, but "to become a viable replacement."