October 21, 2014

Biofuel firm quickly moving forward

When Ferrari’s Formula One team hits the track at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, they will be using some fast-moving Wisconsin technology. Virent Energy Systems in Madison produces a biofuel, made from plant sugars, that is blended into the F-1’s fuel.

Company founder Randy Cortright says they first began developing this particular stream five years ago. A subsequent partnership with Shell has led to its use by Ferrari for the last three F-1 racing seasons.

As airlines become increasingly more concerned with lowering their carbon footprint, Virent is also involved in a federally funded program to develop jet fuel from biomass. Cortright says some of the fuel has been tested by the military at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, with good results.

“We’re finding the fuel that we’re generating is actually better than the fuel that you can get from crude oil. Turns out that it’s more stable and they’re pretty excited about what we’re generating at this time.”

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (:55)