Biomass role in energy mix questioned

Top Italian energy scientists dismiss viability of biofuels, push for hydrogen, wind, solar

Biomass energy is almost always uneconomic and impractical and should play only a very small future role in Europe, some of Italy's leading energy scientists have said. They urged governments instead to focus investments on other alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, wind and photovoltaic solar.

At a conference held last month by scientific institutions the National science academy and National research council (CNR), experts dubbed biomass as "marginal" to the energy debate. It would always cost more to produce fuels such as bioethanol from plant materials than merited by its energy content, they said.

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