While Toyota has declared itself fully committed to a hybrid-powered future, Honda's hedging its bets. Honda is developing hybrids, more efficient gas-powered engines, clean diesels and now, biomass. Working with non-profit partner Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), Honda says they've developed a new bacterial strain that produces large volumes of ethanol. The microorganisms munch on widely-available waste products including wood, leaves and plant stalks to ferment sugar into alcohol. Quoted by Reuters, RITE's chief researcher at their molecular microbiology and genetics lab didn't beat around the bush. Hideaki Yukawa claims his team has cracked the biomass nut: "This achievement solves the last remaining fundamental hurdle to ethanol production from soft biomass." Next year, Honda plans to set up a test plant (so to speak).
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