In the EU the transport sector had been recognized as responsible for 32% of energy consumption and for 28% of the production of man-made greenhouse gases. It is the only sector of the economy whose energy consumption continues to increase at an alarming rate, so there has been an urgent need for alternative fuels, characterized by a reduced impact on the environment.
The design concept was aimed at developing immediate dual fuel engines (petrol / diesel-ethanol) for the European market, while in the medium term it had ambition to develop an economically viable process for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol. The International Environmental Agency (IEA) estimated that compared to fossil fuels, the use of this fuel would reduce by at least 60% net CO2 injections. The project was considered in an integrated manner at all stages from harvesting biomass emissions of engines fuelled by bioethanol.
The first objective of the project was to demonstrate the feasibility of creating a "virtuous" process that solved the current problem of disposing of agricultural waste, usually burned on the spot, with the added bonus of producing renewable energy resources, ecologically more advantageous for oil the transport sector, especially in urban areas. In summary, the primary objective that research arises was to identify and study the means to remove the constraints hampering the effective development of an urban transport system that uses biomass of agricultural origin for the production of biofuels.
It constituted an explicit objective of the final project to demonstrate the industrial feasibility of the process, so that it could be self-sustaining and extend permanently to other production basins of biomass, reducing the need for the importing country's energy whilst ensuring some advantages of environmental character.
To fulfil the project’s purposes it was necessary inter alia:
- to develop an adequate logistics system, optimized from the point of view of collection, transport and storage of materials;
- to design and test processes considered most effective for converting agricultural waste into biofuel.