Back to the Future. Rubbish as a source of fuel becomes a reality
Almost 25 years after Spielberg’s film *Back to the Future* predicted the use of rubbish as a fuel for cars several projects that transform household waste into fuel are on their way thanks to bacteria originally used for compost heaps, which have been now genetically engineered to produce Ethanol by braking down the cellulose in food and other organic substances.
A British company has just been awarded a multi-million pound contract to develop biofuels in this way, to be used in the US in combination with petrol. Victoria, Australia is planning to reduce the use of petrol by 30% thanks to biofuels developed from rubbish, and Brazil is well ahead of other countries in the use of Ethanol, recognised as a lower pollutant than petrol in the struggle to reduce greenhouse gases, although one study has raised questions about its potential to increase ozone levels.
This news comes as a relief for those aware that biofuels developed from crops had been responsible for an increase in food prices, in particular for poor countries as they occupy land previously dedicated to growing foodstuffs with this new form of “cash crop”.
Governments around the world will have to show the political will to defy the powerful Oil cartels and choose, amongst others, this interesting form of producing renewable energy which deals not only with the problem of reducing greenhouse gases but also with the accumulation of rubbish in landfills or its burning. In recent times they have been held responsible for various illnesses as gases like methane (a major contributor to global warming) and other toxic chemicals, products of waste decomposition and burning (like the cancer-inducing dioxins), contaminate the communities built upon or near them.