UPDATE – There’s more news on using our surplus corn as fuel (in the form of ethanol). As our readers know, corn is not the best plant to use to convert into ethanol?other types of plants produce a more efficient fuel. Honda thinks it has found a way to convert plants waste, such as leaves and stalks, into fuel we can burn in our gas tanks.

In USA Today, Chris Woodyard writes that Honda is using a microorganism discovered in Japan that can convert vegetation into ethanol much more efficiently than the bacteria that is used to create ethanol now.

Detroit automakers want to make cars that can run on E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Honda plans to make ethanol fueled cars for export to Brazil, where they distill ethanol from sugar cane.

UPDATE: Purdue professor Li-fu Chen, along with his research assistant Qin Xu, who both work in the food science department of the university, have developed a new way to produce ethanol from corn than costs less, does not pollute, and also produces biodegradable byproducts that could be safely eaten.

Chen says, “This process also produces corn oil, corn fiber, gluten and zein, which is a protein that can be used in the manufacture of plastics so that the containers are good for the environment because they are biodegradable and easily decompose. The containers would actually be edible, although there probably wouldn’t be much market for that.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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