Scientists have discovered a process to convert sugar directly into renewable diesel that could replace fossil fuels used in vehicles.

University of California, Berkeley scientists found that a long-abandoned fermentation process once used to turn starch into explosives can be used to produce renewable diesel.

Researchers teamed up to produce diesel fuel from the products of a bacterial fermentation discovered nearly 100 years ago by the first president of Israel, chemist Chaim Weizmann.

The retooled process produces a mix of products that contain more energy per gallon than ethanol that is used today in transportation fuels and could be commercialised within 5-10 years.

While the fuel’s cost is still higher than diesel or gasoline made from fossil fuels, scientists said the process would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, one of the major contributors to global climate change.