Biomasstransit? Or is Honda Barking Up The Wrong Tree?
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).
John: Hopefully, we can spare the rain forests. 210delray: I generate a good deal of vegetative waste just by pruning trees and shrubs on my property. Exactly. I can imagine a device, initially the size of a small dumpster, sitting in back of my garage. In go grass clippings, and in the fall, oak-tree leaves, and out comes ethanol for my car. Take it a bit farther, and imagine an enthanol-powered lawnmower, snowblower, and heck, while we’re at it, run a line over to your formerly gas-powered grill sitting on the nearby deck. Add an occasional Bag O’ Bugs to recharge the ethanol generator and you’ve got a nice self-sustaining system. Of course, it’s possible I have too vivid an imagination…
LoserBoy: I do like the “Bag o’ Bugs” concept, though. Specifically, I can see it playing a central role in some future (and fairly gross) episode of CSI. LOL. Initially, I was going to add a bit about how the Bag O' Bugs would certainly come with a Federally-mandated warning label: "WARNING: Keep away from children and pets." Wouldn't want Fluffy the cat to ingest the stuff. As for cleaning out the ethanol generator, it could not be much more gross than the task of cleaning out the rain gutters on my home--yuck!
One of the things I admire about Honda is that it is managed by engineers who like to solve problems and are committed to being "a Company that Society Wants to Exist". What other corporation takes seriously that mission? See: http://world.honda.com/environment/2006report/pdf/2006_report_02.pdf