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This Chapter provides an introduction to the general topic and to the Chapters that follow. We describe the history of energy crop development, introduce and define the bioenergy terms and outline how feedstock from energy crops can be converted into energy through combustion or thermal, biological and chemical conversion. The distinction between first, second and advanced generation technologies is explained. The different types of energy crops are described, including grain and seed crops, sugar crops, oil crops, dedicated biomass crops and algae, as an introduction to the detailed chapters on individual crops that follow. Aspects of the debate surrounding energy crop production are discussed.

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