Biofuel Production in Italy and Europe: Benefits and Costs, in the Light of the Present European Union Biofuel Policy

  • Sergio Ulgiati
  • Daniela Russi
  • Marco Raugei


We present and critically evaluate in this paper biofuel production options in Italy, in order to provide the reader with the order of magnitudes of the performance indicators involved. Also, we discuss biofuel viability and desirability at the European level, according to the recent EU regulations and energy policy decisions.

Fuels from biomass are most often proposed as substitutes for fossil fuels, in order to meet present and future shortages. Although the scientific literature on biofuel production techniques is abundant, comprehensive evaluations of large-scale biofuel production as a response to fossil energy depletion are few and controversial. The complexity of the assessments involved and the ideological biases in the research of both opponents and proponents of biofuel production make it difficult to weigh the contrasting information found in the literature. Moreover, the dubious validity of extrapolating results obtained at the level of an individual biofuel plant or farm to entire societies or ecosystems has rarely been addressed explicitly. After questioning the feasibility of a large-scale biofuels option based upon yields from case studies, we explore what are the constraints that affect the option even in the case of improved production performance.


Biomass biofuels carbon dioxide emissions land requirement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Ulgiati
    • 1
  • Daniela Russi
    • 2
  • Marco Raugei
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sciences for the EnvironmentParthenope University of NapoliCentro Direzionale – Isola C4Italy
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Economic HistoryAutonomous University of BarcelonaCampus de la UABSpain
  3. 3.Department of Sciences for the EnvironmentParthenope University of NapoliCentro Direzionale – Isola C4Italy

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