Wisconsin could have a bright future in bioengery, an emerging technology which has moved well beyond corn-based ethanol to include a wide variety of potential fuel sources. State and national experts in the field met Thursday at Monona Terrace in Madison for the Wisconsin Bioenergy Summit. Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank says Wisconsin is well positioned to develop bioenergy. “We have incredible natural resources, we grow things in Wisconsin. We have forests, we have agricultural lands, we have a great university system that can help develop the new technologies of the future, we have a great manufacturing sector where we can manufacture the things that we need to develop this biomass.” Things like anaerobic digesters, which can yield energy from cow manure. “We’re currently one of the leaders in the country on that. The technology is evolving and getting better,” Frank said.
Peter Taglia, staff scientist with Clean Wisconsin, explained that anaerobic digesters are just one of many potential energy sources, including household waste. “Some people even object to calling it waste because these are nutrients and energy. What we really need to be doing is ‘biocycling’. When you think about all the nutrients that are causing problems in our waterways, you can also think about it as a wasted resource. Let’s not put it in landfills, let’s turn it into energy.” The summit was hosted by the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, created in 2007 by the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.