Researchers are determined to turn wood into liquid fuel for your car. Called cellulosic ethanol, this fuel also can be made from grasses and other woody material, and some form of it could be in your car as soon as next year. That's when refiners are required to start adding small amounts of the wood-based fuel to gasoline, both for energy security reasons and for the perceived environmental benefit. But the fledgling cellulosic industry will be hard-pressed to make as much as the law requires, analysts and federal officials say. A key part of the problem is that while wood is easier to grow than corn, it's tougher to break down. That's partly because its cell walls are reinforced with a hardy material called lignin. Studies with the Asian Long Beatles as well as well as geneticists making "designer trees" are being researched but commercial yields are at least 5 years away.
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