There have been a lot of ideas put forth about what the future of energy production will look like. Will it be endless fields of solar panels stretching across some barren desert? Or will it be dominated by visions of spinning blades off the coast of New England? Well for one small start-up, the future of energy resembles the process by which we all derive our energy.

The Cleveland, OH based Quasar Energy Group has teamed up with Forest City Enterprises Inc. to expand their novel design of waste-to-energy power plants. Quasar’s power plants generate electricity by using food waste from local restaurants, such as Pierre’s Ice Cream company. This organic waste is liquified and eaten up by bacteria, the same bacteria in your gut, which produces methane and carbon dioxide. The methane is then burned up in an industrial engine that in turn powers a 1.3 megawatt generator.

The whole process mimics the way that animals burn up food, only in this case the resulting output is electricity. But the process also results in a nitrate-rich liquid which can be sold off to farmers as fertilizer.

The current partnership between Forest City, a real-estate developer, and Quasar aims to develop at least two more such plants, with at least one being built within the city. It is hoped that these power plants will mean less food rotting away in Cleveland’s dumpsters. While also generating more electricity for Cleveland’s businesses and residents.

The electricity that Quasar currently generates with its one power plant is bought up by Cleveland Public Power. Their current energy output is enough to service 800 homes. Forest City hopes to develop the industrial space around the plant to include breweries, restaurants, and other amenities that would provide a steady supply of food waste. If that plan works, they would be able to sell the resulting electricity to the same businesses who provided the fuel in the first place!