A key challenge for society is the development of renewable energy sources. The United States used 143 billion gallons of fuel in 2019. The 2007 US Energy Independence & Security Act (EISA) mandated a 36 billion gallon switch from fossil fuels to biofuels by 2022, with 21 billion gallons being derived from non-corn sources. In addition, the US military set several ambitious goals: US Army - 30 installations to be net-zero energy by 2030, US Navy - 50% total energy consumption from alternative sources by 2020, and US Air Force – reduce demand and increase alternative sources by 2030.

An Illinois state mandate requires that 25% of electricity generated must be from renewable sources by 2025. Illinois currently produces ~16,000 GWh of electricity and only about 10% of that is from renewable sources, leaving significant room for growth in renewable and alternative energy sources.

ISTC is dedicated to energy efficiency and conservation as well as renewable energy in all sectors. Researchers at ISTC are investigating ways to produce liquid fuels from a variety of materials that often end up in landfills such as hard-to-recycle plastics or waste biomass. In addition, they are researching alternative energy sources such as generating energy or producing liquid fuels from wastewater.

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