TOKYO Feb 9 Nippon Oil Corp and other Japanese
manufacturers including Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday they
would set up a research body to develop next- generation
cellulose-derived biofuels at comparatively low-cost.
Cellulosic ethanol uses inedible plant matter rather than
crops as its feedstock. It is expected to be made from the tough
woody bits of grasses and fast-growing trees as well as plant and
Biofuels like U.S. corn-based ethanol, have widely blamed for
spiking food and grain prices as well as environmental problems,
but the next-generation alternatives are no quick fix as they are
more expensive than gasoline.
The consortium has set itself the goal of producing 250,000
kilolitres (1.6 million barrels) per year of bioethanol by March
2014, and producing bioethanol at 40 yen ($0.437) per litre
(about $70 a barrel) by 2015.
The other firms are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toray
Industries Inc, Kajima Corp and Sapporo Engineering Ltd, a wholly
owned subsidiary of Sapporo Breweries.
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)