Electric vehicles (EVs) are well on their way to transforming the way we get around every day, but we are still far away from a reality in which they dominate the roads over traditional vehicles. Fortunately, there are scientists working to make the fuel we already use more environmentally friendly.
Ethanol has been introduced as an additive to reduce air pollution from gasoline burning cars while also helping to keep engines cleaner. Current ethanol is derived from corn that grows across millions of acres of farmland in the United States alone. In 2016 alone, American cars consumed more than 14 billion gallons of fuel ethanol.
A team of scientists at Stanford University has discovered a way of producing ethanol that doesn’t require any crops, thus freeing up farmland to produce more food and preventing the need to clear more land for cultivation. Principal investigator Thomas Jaramillo said, “One of our long-range goals is to produce renewable ethanol in a way that doesn’t impact the global food supply.”