Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT, has started a large European project, which combines the forces of European research institutes and companies for developing the next generation of biofuel.
The NEMO-project is aimed at developing manufacturing methods for liquid biofuel from agricultural and forestry waste, such as straws and wood chips and energy crops. The project will last for four years and it been financed by the EU with 5.9 million Euros.
Agricultural and forestry waste is mainly lignocellulose. The project develops enzymes that can be used to cut lignocellulose into sugar compounds suitable for fermentation. The objective of NEMO is also to tailor the metabolism of microbes so that they can produce large volumes of ethanol out of the biomass sugars economically and efficiently.
Currently nearly all biofuel is produced using first-generation technology. However, the current production methods are not energy-efficient enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions sufficiently. These production methods are also no efficient enough as such.
The EU has set a recommendation for its member states to replace 5.75 per cent of their traffic fuel with biofuels latest by 2010. The EU has also set a definite goal of using 10 per cent renewable energy sources in traffic by 2020.