Fri Sep 14th, 2007 at 04:35:13 AM EST
A good summary of the European position from Euractiv.com today
Cost: Relatively high production costs (currently higher than those for both mineral oil-based petrol and conventional bio-ethanol) mean that second-generation biofuels cannot yet be produced economically on a large scale.
Technological breakthroughs: Key developments are needed on enzymes, pre-treatment and fermentation in order to make processes more cost- and energy-efficient. Biotechnology could offer a solution by offering the opportunity to change the characteristics of feed materials for fuels.
Infrastructure needs: The commercialisation of second-generation biofuels will also necessitate the development of a whole new infrastructure for harvesting, transporting, storing and refining biomass.
There are concerns from the environmental NGOs:
Green NGO Biofuelwatch laments the lack of discussion regarding the sustainability of second-generation biofuels. "The serious risks which GM crops and technologies pose to biodiversity appear have been ignored, even though second-generation technologies will depend on widespread use of GM crops and trees, as well as GM microbes and fungi, which pose serious risks to ecosystems and are likely to cross into food production via cross-pollination."
Why would GM be needed here?