St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A Washington University professor wants to turn human waste in to fuel. And Bill Gates wants to help him.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded Yinjie Tang and his team $100,000 to get started on his idea.

The goal is to use genetically modified fungi to turn human waste in to a bio-fuel that can be used in cars. And at the same time, the fungi could kill the harmful bacteria in the waste to make sewage treatment more environmentally friendly.

The professor has 18 months to turn his idea in to a real possibility.

"I'm feeling a lot of pressure. Eighteen months is a very short period. We're still learning about the fungi system. But we're getting a lot of help from my colleagues," said Professor Yinjie Tang, Washington University.

If the group makes it through phase one of the competition they could get $1 million more from the foundation to help make the idea a reality.

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