Virent, a Madison company working on plant-based replacements for petroleum fuels and chemicals, is one of three finalists for an energy innovation contest.

Securing America's Future Energy, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., organization, has chosen Virent and two other companies to present their technologies at a conference Wednesday on energy security.

The first-place winner of the emerging innovation award will receive $125,000.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.