An interesting piece has showed up on "La Repubblica" tuersday 15th of April 2008:
A research conducted by the University of Massachussets, found a method to produce 2nd generation biofuels, starting from wood chips and agricultural waste using the quick pirolysis method.
At the moment agriculture using this method could contribute in Italy, with the waste it produces, with a total of 3,6 billion liters/year of biodiesel, standing a total need for Italy of about 40 billion/year. Even if we considered half of the fuel produced as energy needed by the industrial process, we still have a theoretical potential of 1,8 billion liters/year of biofuel which accounts for just about half the goal set by the EU, and this without using a single gram of anything may ever enter the human food chain, therefore without touching the economic balances of the third world (and ours too).
This research depicts agriculture's present state, but DOES NOT consider that biomasses can be produced free by phyto depurating wastewaters: If we only considered the use of "technical plants" for the treatment of sewage in at least half of the 8000 councils present in Italy, this final data of biofuel produced would certainly be reductive
Here is the article written by Antonio Cianciullo
The technology exists, now let's find the political will to apply it....