WSMB Fuels UW-Madison Hybrid Eco-friendly Engine Research March 5th, 2013

WSMB Fuels UW-Madison Hybrid Eco-friendly Engine Research

Madison, WI, March 5, 2013—The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is investing in the future by helping the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team refine their hybrid that showcases advanced fuel technology. Wisconsin soybean farmers have provided $15,000 to help the team refine its dual-fuel student hybrid vehicle. This research benefits not only the team of undergraduate student volunteers working on the project, but also benefits consumers and the environment. Because the project involves biodiesel fuel that can be made from soybean oil, it can have a positive impact on Wisconsin soybean farmers as well.

Senior Scientist Dr. Glenn R. Bower, Automotive Faculty Advisor of the UW-Madison Engine Research Center, says the research funds from WSMB will be used for the nuts and bolts of the project. “We are trying to demonstrate the next generation of engine technology that, if proven, will allow an increased fuel economy by up to 25 % over current diesel fuel, using renewable fuel.”

UW-Madison Mechanical Engineering Professor Rolf Reitz is perfecting a new mixed-fuel technology that harnesses the advantages of both diesel and gas engines. The process Dr. Reitz is developing is called reactivity-controlled compression ignition technology (RCCI) and involves two separate fuel injections: a mixture of ethanol/gasoline injected with fresh air, and biodiesel. Mixing the two fuels increases engine efficiency. Biodiesel fuel is a clean-burning diesel replacement and a renewable resource. It can be made from soybean oil, using soybeans grown by Wisconsin farmers.

Graduate students in the University’s Engine Research Center will be responsible for calibrating the RCCI engine, while members of the undergraduate hybrid team will implement the engine into a fully functioning hybrid vehicle. Most students on the hybrid vehicle team—approximately 100 of them—are volunteers. While the majority are mechanical engineering students, all engineering disciplines are represented.

In the past 20 years, the UW-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team of undergraduates has earned first place honors in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Vehicle Competition six times. However, in its latest endeavor, the team is taking a break from competition to devote its efforts to working on a project with the University’s Engine Research Center (graduate research within the College of Engineering).

For additional details about the UW-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team, visit the team’s website: To learn more about the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and its work, visit the website at

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The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB) is a grassroots, farmer-led organization that leads efforts in soybean research and the expansion of soybean market opportunities. Established in 1983 as part of a Wisconsin-mandated checkoff, the board works every day to maximize the profitability of Wisconsin soybean producers. It builds soybean demand, creates new uses for soybeans, and focuses on soybean disease research. WSMB is committed to providing statewide soy education and outreach programs that inform consumers about the benefits of soy. It offers a comprehensive soy curriculum for educators, and partners with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom to provide Soybean Science Kits and lessons that increase agricultural literacy.