Perhaps you remember the scene from Back to The Future, where Doc fills the DeLorean time machine up with garbage to create fuel, then goes whizzing down the street? While we haven't mastered time travel, fuel made of garbage is becoming a reality.
"The dream is real, it's happening," said Jason Blake of Novozymes. "We're actually taking trash that we throw away and creating high value products from it!. It's fantastic!"
One man's trash is another man's treasure. Companies like Fiberright LLC, based in Maryland, use a plant in Virginia to create nearly 1 million gallons of biofuel every year.
The process of converting the trash to fuel is outlined in the company's YouTube video -- the garbage is first sorted, the recyclables are cleaned and the organics are condensed into a pulp, converting this dirty biomass into high value sugars and biofuels.
"You see all the gas stations say contains 10 percent ethanol? Well, instead of that ethanol coming from corn, that ethanol could come from trash. So, we could again supply a big chunk of the ethanol used in Florida just out of trash-derived fuel," said Craig Stuart-Paul, Fiberright LLC CEO.
Stuart-Paul says that, in Florida, nearly 27 million tons of trash are disposed of every year.
"Of that same amount of trash that's disposed of, we could produce 245 million gallons of fuel a year and enough bio-gas to power every single trash truck in Florida," Stuart-Paul said.
He showed us an example of what the trash is transformed into once the organics are removed.
"So, when we talk about separating the organic waste out, what's in here is leftover packaging material, potato skins, diapers, all of the fiber in that is in this," Stuart-Paul said.
Locally, companies like Raptor Fabrication in Clermont are using trash and other bi products to create bio-diesel.
Pointing to a vat of yellow grease collected from restaurants, Dwayne Dundore of Raptor Fabrication said, "We can actually convert this to bio-diesel, which is what's in here, this is actually 100 percent bio-diesel."
That means liquid created from leftover restaurant grease can be used to power a semi–truck.
"Things like yellow grease from restaurants, animal fats, soy beans that are left over from crop production, corn oil and we convert them to biodiesel," Dundore said.