Panel: Companies’ Big Bets Suggest Cleantech Is Here to Stay

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expects biofuels will be a significant part of the energy landscape in the future.

Tim Donohue, a bacteriology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is likewise bullish on the future of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources. While Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and other automakers are currently making huge bets on electric cars, it’s important to keep in mind that the automotive industry only accounts for 10 percent of energy demand in the U.S., Donohue said. Meanwhile, aviation, diesel-powered trucks, and naval shipping make up another 20 percent, he said.

“I will be pushing daisies before anyone gets on a plane with anything but jet fuel in it,” said Donohue, who joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1986, and also directs the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which was launched in 2007 with a five-year, $125 million federal funding grant. “The idea that you’re going to run naval shipping or long-haul diesel or aviation on electrified or [gas-electric] hybrid type of engines is really George Jetson—way out in the future.”

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