Waste Into Fuel: The Coolest Green Fuels

06/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Dave Burdick Man about Boulder: dailycamera.com, biggreenboulder.com, fridayallweek.com

We have an oil dependency. We create too much waste.

Wouldn't it be swell if we could kill two birds with one stone here? Here are some of the coolest waste-into-fuel technologies we've seen lately:

CHOCOLATE WASTE

There's a race car that runs on the byproduct of making chocolate. The makers also incorporated potatoes and carrots into the production of the car. Sounds delicious, looks fast.

Check it out:

BEER WASTE

Are you a chocoholic, but for booze? Well, then the car might not have done it for you, but this will:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. makes delicious beer and has green practices to brag about. One of the coolest? It has a deal with E-Fuel to turn beer byproduct into ethanol. Make beer, get beer and fuel for cars.

BUT DON'T BREW AND DRINK AND USE THE BYPRODUCT FOR FUEL AND DRIVE.

WASTE WASTE

If you don't make beer or chocolate, but you do make waste, then this next one might be more up your alley: Scientists have long known how to convert waste into fuel, but the US was only recently motivated to start doing it.

Virtually any material containing hydrogen, carbon and oxygen could potentially be turned into motor fuel. That includes plastics, construction debris, forest and lawn trimmings, wood chips, wheat straw and many other types of agricultural waste.

Apparently science has advanced enough that some folks think that styrofoam, the bane of our existence, may actually prove less... useless:

The energy crisis has given rise to a new source of fuel - the Styrofoam cup. Mechanical engineers at Iowa State University in Ames have demonstrated how to boost the power output of biodiesel simply by adding waste plastic to the fuel.