2/8/04 at 7:00 PM
Even without the time travel, it's a stretch to say that "Back to the Future Part II" was even a little realistic. Case in point: shouldn't we have flying cars by now? But one of the movie's other snazzy technologies--"Mr. Fusion," the trash bin cum energy source--is ready for reality. Like Mr. Fusion, Startech Environmental's new Plasma Converter can turn trash, even hazardous waste, into power, in the form of a hydrogen-rich gas. One converter is already running in Japan, and founder Joe Longo says he has bids out in "Europe, Latin America, the Pacific Rim"--pretty much everywhere. Two weeks ago he floated a proposal to the "garbage nerds" of the New York Citywide Recycling Advisory Board. (That's co-chair Kendall Christiansen's phrase, not ours.) Another company, Masada, is also seeking N.Y.C.'s attention and building a trash-to-ethanol plant in Middletown, N.Y. And Changing World Technologies is touting a machine that turns organic waste into oil. Changing world, indeed.