The Nikkei reports that the Research Institute of Innovative Technology (RITE) has developed technology for producing cellulosic biobutanol for blending with diesel fuel.
Honda has been collaborating with RITE on the development of a process for the production of cellulosic ethanol. (Earlier post.) The RITE-Honda process uses a bacterial strain developed by RITE that ferments sugar into ethanol and applies Honda engineering technology to enable a “significant increase” in alcohol conversion efficiency in comparison to conventional cellulosic bio-ethanol production processes, according to the partners.
RITE’s biobutanol process also uses genetically modified microorganisms to ferment sugars resulting from the breakdown of cellulosic biomass, according to the report.
Testing commissioned by RITE and Honda R&D Co. confirmed negligible effects on diesel vehicle performance when the RITE biobutanol was mixed with diesel fuel.
RITE sees the biofuel as key to cutting greenhouse gases emitted from diesel vehicles. Once mass production begins, the fuel is seen costing almost the same to produce as bioethanol for gasoline-powered cars. RITE has already applied for an international patent on the technology.