Honda has developed a new flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) system that lets normal petrol engines operate on either 100% ethanol or a wide range of ethanol-petrol fuel mixes.

Up to now, this has proved a tough nut to crack but the new system is designed to adapt to different ethanol-to-petrol combinations by estimating the concentration of ethanol based on measurements of exhaust gases. This means that the FFV is capable of operating with all different types of fuel combos with anywhere between 20% and 100% ethanol.

That means it’s greener – offering better fuel economy without compromising performance. Bioethanol fuel, as used heavily in Brazil in particular, is made from plant sources such as sugar cane. Because plants absorb CO2 via photosynthesis, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere from burning bioethanol fuel does not increase atmospheric CO2, which is why it’s loads greener.

By the end of the year, Honda plans to launch its new system in Brazil. If it’s a success, it might even reach Europe.