Garbage to gasoline, Texas plant gears up to make fuel from waste

By Barbara Kessler

Biomass technology promises what few other alternative fuel schemes can: energy from waste. Given the controversial use of corn (and other food crops) for biofuel, which is turning out to be less of a greenhouse gas saver than once thought, waste is looking pretty attractive.

A new plant in Central Texas, dedicated last week, promises to take sewage waste, organic garbage, grass clippings and manure, and convert them into gasoline.

Initially the plant, designed as a large-scale demonstration project, will use forage sorghum as its base material. Forage sorghum, unlike other varieties grown to produce sorghum seed for food products, does not steal directly from the human food chain. It is used as feed for cattle, but even so, it’s more renewable than corn because about twice as much (5-7 tons) can be grown per acre.