Several Japanese corporations — including Nippon Oil and Toyota — are teaming up to develop a next-generation, low-cost way to produce cellulosic ethanol, Reuters reports.
Unlike corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol is produced from plant waste such as wood chips and leftover crop materials.
Other companies joining the research consortium include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sapporo Engineering (yes, part of Sapporo Breweries), Kajima Corp and Toray Industries.
According to the Reuters report, the consortium aims to be able to produce 250,000 kilolitres of cellulosic ethanol by early 2014. By the following year, it hopes to bring the cost of the biofuel down to about £47.5 a barrel.