While the basics of converting plants into fuels are known, the efficiency of the process depends on breaking the plants' cell walls down into sugar with a minimum use of energy. That would make the process less energy intensive and reduce the overall consumption of energy used to process biofuels from plants. Forbes has this very interesting piece on two competing companies that are working to make this happen.
If this process were significantly developed, it would go a long way to reducing criticisms of the amount of energy required to produce ethanol for use as a fuel, for example. It could also help produce even cheaper biodiesel from plants like Jatropha in countries like India and Mexico that are trying to grow the crop on degraded land. It is a story that this blog will follow as it is something that is important as a transitional process from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable ones. Agrivida's website is: Link and Syngenta's is: Link 2.
Watch this space!