Greece moves slowly toward biomass fuel

Using energy from plants for heating and electricity will help increase farmers’ incomes and lessen environmental pollution, but such a project’s success depends on the conditions in which investment is made. The most promising areas for such crops and sites to process liquid fuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol are explored in «Action Plan for Biomass and Biofuel in Greece,» a study by the Institute for Rural Development and Cooperative Economy (INASO) for the Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES). European Union directives mandate that by 2010, at least 5.75 percent of the fuel used in Greece for transport be biofuel, and that 1.2 percent of the country’s electricity be produced from biomass. The figure of 5.7 percent refers to all types of biofuel, and each member state can decide whether to invest in biodiesel or bioethanol. To produce the requisite amount of biomass, Greece must cultivate an estimated 370,000 hectares of energy-producing plants. The proposal is to plant 200,00 hectares with sunflower and rapeseed to produce biodiesel; 110,00 hectares with sweet sorghum, sugar beet, wheat and corn to produce bioethanol; and 50,000 hectares with grain sorghum to produce electricity.