The European Energy Crops Overview (EECO) project was carried out with 20 partners from fourteen EU countries during 1996. The EECO-project provides the state-of-the-art on energy crops activities in Europe. More than 30 potential energy crop species have been investigated in Europe, but only a few have achieved commercial status so far. The introduction of energy crops in agriculture is relatively easy in the case of well-known agricultural crops such as rape and grain crops, but new crops are hampered by both technical and non-technical barriers. Production, pre-treatment and use of woody and herbaceous energy crops for power and heat generation is still mainly in the pilot to demonstration phase, while use of sugar and oil rich crops for transport purposes has been developed at a commercial scale already. Production, pre-treatment and use of SRC is fully developed in Sweden and in the pilot to demonstration phase in the north-west European countries. Herbaceous crops are tested up to a large scale in the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Biodiesel is produced on a commercial scale in France, Germany, Austria and Italy, while bioethanol is produced at a commercial scale in France. In southern Europe, emphasis is on the production aspects of energy crops; only a limited number of efforts on use of energy crops have been realized so far.