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Bill Gates builds massive booze factory

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Unimaginably rich nerd Bill Gates is to build a plant in Oregon to produce 35m gallons of liquor annually.

The lucky folks of Boardman, on the Columbia river, will play host to Bill's boozy dream factory when it opens its doors toward the end of this year.

Sadly, the factory will not be a kind of alcohol-themed Willy Wonka's, complete with lumpy rivers of advocaat and private army of caterwauling drunken dwarves.

Instead, it will produce fuel-grade ethanol on an industrial scale. Gates owns a quarter stake in Pacific Ethanol, which is behind the plant. The firm aims at a land-grab in the burgeoning west coast market for renewables by fermenting sweetcorn.

Ethanol burns cleanly, producing carbon dioxide and water with no net gain in greenhouse gases, since the CO2 was trapped from the atmosphere by photosynthesis in the first place. ®

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