The production of agricultural biomass and its exploitation for energy purposes can contribute to alleviate several problems, such as the dependence on import of energy products, the production of food surpluses, the pollution provoked by the use of fossil fuels, the abandonment of land by farmers and the connected urbanization. Biomass is not at the moment competitive with mineral oil, but, taking into account also indirect costs and giving a value to the aforementioned advantages, public authorities at national and international level can spur its production and use by incentives of different nature. On long term perspective, technological innovation can improve the cost effectiveness of biomass production. For this purpose a new cycle of plant domestication is needed, in order to develop new plant genera, species or varieties yielding quantities of biomass higher than plants now cultivated for food production. The strategies and objectives of plant breeding for this domestication cycle are briefly discussed. Two specific cases of use of agricultural biomass for energy production can be considered as more feasible in the next future: the production of biodiesel from vegetable oil and the production of electricity from ligno-cellulosic biomass. Both possibilities are discussed from a technical and from an economical point of view. © 1994.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment