WBIA BLOG

Oil Rigged – Big Oil is misleading America

 

“Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world.”

 

Bold words this morning from the President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen. But, it’s true! Ethanol has proven to be one of our best options for powering our Nation and moving America forward – which is exactly why Big Oil has been stacking the deck against ethanol blends for years.

Today, the national ethanol advocacy group, Fuels America is launching a nationwide campaign to draw attention to the many ways Big Oil is using misinformation to skew public opinion and convince our lawmakers that oil is the way to go.

In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil industry has spent $885 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions to our legislators in the past five years…

That’s more than $1 million for each and every single member of Congress.

Big Oil has been rigging the system for far too long. Help us stop the misinformation! Take a look at OilRigged.com and together we can keep moving America forward.

 

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The Wisconsin Energy Institute and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

Our most recent member meeting of the WBIA was hosted by the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center located in the brand new Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW-Madison campus.

Hosted by the WEI’s Associate Director, Mary Blanchard, we received an overview on the GLBRC’s mission and projects from their Scientific Programs Manager, Steve Slater. Finally, Leith Nye, the GLBRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator led us on a tour of the facility.

 

The GLBRC is a Department of Energy funded project that seeks to “perform the basic research that generates technology to convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other advanced biofuels.” In a nutshell, they are at the forefront of finding ways to advance renewable energy from cellulosic biomass. If you can think of it, they’re probably doing it.

 

While we were only able to glimpse into a handful of their most promising work, the GLBRC’s location at the WEI building is not by accident. The WEI has brought together researchers from diverse disciplines to better understand the larger picture of our energy issues. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is the only bioenergy research facility located on an academic campus and takes full advantage of that, bridging the gaps between the many fields in which scientists and students are working on the future of energy, from biofuels to batteries.

The presentation from Dr. Slater was focused on three projects the GLBRC’s is most excited about, which we’ll cover in our next blog post. Stay tuned!

We were also able to walk through the factors involved in bringing cellulosic ethanol to market. Dr. Slater broke down which aspects in the four stages of refinement play most into economic viability, and offered some insight onto the technology they are developing which can reduce their impact on the bottom line.

 

If you’d like to know more, contact the Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Great Lakes Bio Energy Research Center. Both of these organizations are doing truly astonishing work, and we’re proud to have them in the state of Wisconsin. We’d also like to thank their communications/event staff for providing us with the opportunity and helping us make the most of our visit.

 

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New startup uses technology developed by the University of Wisconsin

Categories: Bio Fuels

A new biofuel startup will be using technology developed by the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

“A renewable chemical and biofuel production method developed by a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Ron Raines has been licensed to the company he founded.

Raines, a biochemistry professor, has established Hyrax Energy Inc., which will license the technology from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the patent and licensing arm of UW-Madison.”

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Researches from Wisconsin pioneer new biofuel production process

Categories: Bio Fuels

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison have pioneered a new way to develop biofuels.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical engineer and his team have developed a new process that uses water, electricity and biomass to make biofuels.

The team developed a technology that uses a fuel cell to convert the compound acetone from biomass into isopropanol, a chemical that’s used as a gasoline additive as well as pharmaceutical and industrial applications.

“It’s what we call electrofuel,” said George Huber, a UW professor of chemical and biological engineering. The technology, he said, creates a “renewable liquid fuel that fits into the existing infrastructure.”

To read more about the team’s research, click here.

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US Automakers Approve Use of E15 in New Vehicles

The two major US automakers made a great announcement for the US ethanol industry today. Check out what The Hill reported:

Ford and General Motors Inc. have approved use of a higher concentration of ethanol fuel in new vehicles — a significant victory for the biofuels industry.

New GM and Ford vehicles will accept a fuel blend that’s 15 percent ethanol, as opposed to the standard 10 percent blend. For GM, that will begin with 2012 models, while Ford will accommodate the fuel in 2013 models, according to Oil Price Information Service, which first reported the news.

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“Freedom” rolls out big in DC

“Freedom,” the compelling documentary investigating the repercussions of America’s addiction to foreign oil and a proposed solution for our energy independence will have its red carpet premiere in DC tonight with a slew of special guests.

Preceding the film’s premiere a press conference will take place at 2pm ET. The debate and Q&A hosted by Dennis McGinn, retired Vice Admiral and President of the American Council on Renewable Fuels, will include filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell as well as General Wesley Clark, who ranked at a four-star general and director of strategic plans and policy for the Joint Chief of Staffs.

“Freedom” covers a wide range on our country’s oil issues ranging from last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion, Keystone XL pipeline, and the economic impact of foreign oil on American citizens. The film also highlights a path to long-term sustainable path to domestic fuel.

To learn more about “Freedom,” click here. Or, check out the trailer here.

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Wisconsin company advances in US Air Force renewable fuel testing

A Madison based company has developed a renewable jet fuel which has recently received the green light after the first round of testing  by the US Air Force.

The one hundred percent renewable fuel produced by Virent was recently tested at US Air Force Laboratory as a result of a strong push by the Pentagon to depend less of foreign fuels. The chemical conversion process which Virent uses to produce its biofuel was developed in the labs of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aaron Imrie, Virent’s commercial fuels manager, expressed his excitement over the results from US Air Force by stating:

“These ARFL results are exciting because they demonstrate the potential of Virent’s catalytic process to create renewable plant-based jet fuel that can meet or exceed petroleum.”

Earlier this year, the US Air Force completed a test flight using a 50-50 blend of petroleum and a biofuel derived from camelina. Honeywell also announced this summer the first successful trans-Atlantic flight using the same biofuel-petroleum blend.

To read more about Virent’s biofuel success, click here.

Or, to learn about Virent, click here.

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Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack at Wisconsin State Fair on biofuels

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Clean Snowmobile Challenge

At the last WBIA meeting in May, students from UW-Platteville’s Clean Snowmobile Challenge came and spoke about their experience this past winter competing in the competition. Afterward, they presented WBIA Executive Director Josh Morby with a plaque recognizing the WBIA’s sponsorship of the team.

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Dueling Fuels: Minnesota and Wisconsin to Face Off in Friendly E85 Rivalry

Two gas stations on opposite sides of the St. Croix River will compete to sell the most E85 fuel on June 2. The Freedom Valu Center in Maplewood, Minnesota and River Hills BP in Somerset, Wisconsin will sell their E85 fuel at a $.85 cent discount between 4-6 p.m. Thursday as a way to promote the use of cleaner fuels.

The ethanol-based fuel can save drivers money as well as improve the quality of air we breathe. The beginning of summer is also the kickoff for ozone season, the main ingredient of smog.  Using the ethanol based fuel E85 can combat the increase of smog during summer months and decrease the risk of adverse health effects including asthma.

The promotions are supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Bob & Steve’s BP Amoco Shops, Erickson Oil, American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and MN & WI Clean Air Choice Teams.

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