Power from sugar

Virent Energy Systems has received a $1.64 million round of seed financing led by Venture Investors to help it continue its work developing a system capable of converting sugar into energy.


The system the company is currently developing is based on its patented Aqueous-Phase Reforming (APR) process, a carbon neutral method for chemically converting widely available sugar-based liquids into hydrogen and other fuel gases for use in distributed power systems.


The APR system generates hydrogen from aqueous solutions of oxygenated compounds in a single step reactor process compared to the three or more reaction steps required for hydrogen generation via conventional processes that use non-renewable fossil fuels.


The company plans to create a complete power generation system by mating the APR System with a hydrogen/natural gas fuelled generator set to deliver 5kW of power. Once completed, it will be connected to the Madison, Gas and Electric’s (MGE) grid at Virent’s headquarters in Madison, WI.


Virent was founded by two University of Wisconsin professors and already has received nearly $4 million in grants from the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the Department of Energy.