By Warren Weisman, The Register-Guard.
If you filled a room full of Nobel Prize-winning scientists and told them they could not leave until they came up with a simpler form of energy than biogas, they could never do it.
To make biogas, all one has to do is take the Tupperware container of mystery leftovers out of the back of your refrigerator, and place it in the sun. Within 48 hours, the gases making the top bulge will be primarily methane — the same flammable component in fossil natural gas presently being fracked out of the ground.
How much energy can you get out of those holiday leftovers? Actually, quite a bit. One kilogram (2.2 pounds) of food waste can provide 20 minutes of cooking time, or fuel an electric generator long enough to watch 10 hours of TV. Biogas can produce five times as much energy per acre as any liquid biofuels, and five times more energy per installed capacity than solar, while also mitigating landfilling and recycling nutrients for gardening and local agriculture.