While waste products can be used to obtain biogas or ethanol, the Japanese have found some other use for them. The city of Kyoto has announced a research project that uses hydrogen produced from biomass such as food waste and used cooking oil. The plans are far from modest, with a working prototype expected in 2010 and a fuel cell system to generate electricity from hydrogen produced at the biogas plant by 2013.
The source for hydrogen, biogas, will be obtained through fermentation of waste, as most processes, but the project also aims to use glycerin, one of the byproducts of producing biodiesel from used oil. Kyoto has been running garbage collection trucks and city buses on biodiesel since April 2000. The city also burns food waste to obtain electricity, something that produces a lot of polluting byproducts which they expect to cut with the new biogas-to-hydrogen project.
[Source: Japan for Sustainability]