George A. Olah

George A. Olah speaks to students during a luncheon at UC Irvine. (Los Angeles Times / October 5, 1996)

JERUSALEM -- Two Southern California scientists have won a $1-million prize for their work in the field of alternative fuels, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has announced.

The 2013 Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation will be awarded to USC professors George A. Olah, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, and G.K. Surya Prakash for their work on methanol markets, an envisioned future economy in which methanol could replace fossil fuels for various purposes, including ground transportation.

The prize is to handed out next month at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit in Israel, Netanyahu's office said Tuesday.

The Israeli government two years ago launched a national program to encourage scientific innovation in the field of alternative fuels for transportation, aimed at reducing global oil dependence.

Israel has a goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels in transportation by 60% by the year 2025, according to Eyal Rosner, who directs the country's alternative fuels program.

It also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and produce 10% of its energy from renewable, clean sources.

ALSO:

Iran nuclear talks continue amid pressure from Congress

Egypt's American soccer coach goes from hero to scapegoat

Who knew? German insomniacs watch NASA space feed all night