I found this press release from Green Power on the net the other day. Some guy from Germany is trying to sell his system for converting garbage into diesel to small municipalities around the country. I saw a demo on a local news channel a few weeks ago for a community near Seattle. I had to chuckle when I heard that he is hoping to lease land for the facility from a guy whose last name is Turnipseed (seriously). Here’s another one released in May of this year:
Spitzauer says that all landfill material and other waste, including liquids can be consumed. Contaminated dirt, rocks, tires, animal carcasses, plant material, batteries, even appliances, will be consumed by the full scale version, thereby eliminating waste and a need for landfills altogether.
This Seattle Times article sheds more light on the story:
[Spitzauer] was convicted of fraud in Austria in 1992, serving three years of a six-year sentence. In 1997, after Spitzauer married a U.S. woman and became a permanent U.S. resident, Austria sought his extradition on different fraud charges.
Before the advent of the internet, a snake-oil salesman could just move from town to town looking for new customers. It is quite probable that this process (which I suspect is similar to the one used by the Nazis to make diesel from coal) can actually turn garbage into fuel. However, it is unlikely to prove economical, its production will produce pollution of some kind, and it might not even return more energy than it consumes. But hey, those same arguments have not stopped the production of ethanol for the last thirty years.