The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the National Biodiesel Board announced they will be investing in greener vehicles for the City of Madison.

Twenty City of Madison Fleet Service vehicles will be retrofit to run on nearly 100% biodiesel fuel, according to the Wisconsin State Farmer.

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Biodiesel is a renewable resource that is made from a variety of resources including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This type of biofuel is cleaner to burn than standard diesel fuel.

Professor of Bacteriology and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Director Tim Donohue said in an email statement to The Badger Herald that the investment in biodiesel has both short and long-term advantages.

“The biodiesel is produced from local Wisconsin and Midwest materials. Thus, it is providing farmers and rural communities with a source of income for a material that might otherwise have little value,” Donohue said. “This has the short and long-term advantage of making Wisconsin a producer of materials it would otherwise import and a host of new industries that provide jobs and economic opportunities.”

Last year, the City of Madison used a 20% blend of biodiesel fuel from April to September, and a 5% blend for the rest of the year in some of the city vehicles, according to the Wisconsin State Farmer. Since 2018, these biodiesel fuel blends have helped Madison Fleet Services save more than 8% of the fleet’s total carbon emissions.

Donohue said in order to make biofuel more available to individual consumers for increased environmental benefits, there needs to be more investment in basic science.

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“We need more investment in the basic science to produce biodiesel, fuels that replace the gasoline in cars, or diesel for jets and naval vessels,” Donohue said in an email statement. “We also need industrial investment to build large-scale facilities to produce millions of gallons of these new fuels every year from renewable resources.”

As a potentially carbon-neutral source of fuel, Donohue said renewable biofuel can be a way to lower our carbon footprint while also creating new revenue, jobs and economic opportunities for Wisconsin.