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Last year, the California-based biotech firm opened its first commercial renewable-chemicals plant outside São Paulo. In 2012, that facility should pump out 50 million liters of sugarcane-derived farnesene. That’s enough to power many of the city’s 15,000 buses, replacing the standard high-in-sulfur fuel, which spews noxious fumes. "Carbon emissions are reduced at least 50%," says Amyris cofounder and CTO Neil Renninger. The company also announced a deal last fall to make sugar-based rubber for Michelin tires (set to roll out in 2015). Sweet.

Illustration by Peter Oumanski