Local researchers working to develop non-fossil fuels
Wisconsin State Journal
Troy Runge holds what could be America's energy future in his hands -- and it looks a little like dog food.
A mix of sawdust bound into pellets, it's Runge's latest creation in his lab on the UW-Madison campus. There, he's been trying different combinations of plant materials, or biomass, as a fuel to replace the coal that burns in the Charter Street power plant about a half-mile away.
Runge's work is part of a broader initiative on campus to develop renewable energy sources, and he is on a team of faculty that will work in the new Wisconsin Energy Institute building. Construction on the building's first phase, funded with $50 million from the state, is set to begin in the fall.
The science conducted there could be the key to making alternative energy sources such as biomass, solar and wind more efficient and reducing dependence on resources such as oil and coal.
"The state and the campus agreed that renewable energy was a high priority for the country and the state, and bio-based renewable energy, or cellulosic biofuels, were a potential large economic driver for the state," said Timothy Donohue, a UW-Madison professor and director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Submitted by mbroeren on Mon, 2010-07-26 13:43