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Here in the U.S., garbage trucks are mainly for picking up, crushing and dumping trash. The same garbage trucks roles no doubt apply in Saudi Arabia, except when the trash hauler doubles as a crowd-pleasing stunt car.

Here's an odd little story from Japan today: the battery system that is used in Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car is going to get a workout as the driving force for the trash compactor in the Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Company's electric garbage collection truck. Running the compactor off of batteries instead of the truck's engine allows for cleaner, quieter garbage collection, as we've seen before. Mitsubishi says that the i-MiEV's battery will help the truck reduce CO2 emissions by 75 percent. Also

As recently as January we reported on plasma vaporisation technology capable of turning organic waste material into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a mixture called synthesis gas, or syn-gas, that can be used as a fuel or as a valuable feedstock in further chemical processes. The company in question then was U.S. based Integrated Environmental Technologies.

We thought we'd found the filthiest car when we gave away a vacuum last spring, but apparently, Ann Biglan of Massachusetts wasn't going to be passed over again this year. Training hard to win the Dyson, Biglan had crammed her Ford Focus with nearly enough crap to fill a 10-yard dumpster. Perhaps the car was struck by lightning and the decaying organic matter came alive, Johnny Five style. While cruising along in Yarmouth, Massachusetts -- on fairly provincial Cape Cod -- the detritus rebelled.

In America, we have trash, and lots of it. Remember in "Back to the Future", when Doc, played by Christopher Lloyd, grabbed garbage from a can, dropped it into the back of his time-machine and fueled its time circuitry with it? This is nothing like that. But, it is pretty cool if they can get it to work at an economically feasible price. The idea is to convert the organic parts of trash into alcohol, specifically methanol and ethanol. Both have uses as fuels. The waste products apparently are tu