With tougher laws and renewed investor confidence, opportunity blossoms for many scientific disciplines

Imagine a machine that enables you to dump waste in one end and get products out of the other. No sorting required. No noxious gases or hazardous byproducts produced. Sound like science fiction? Well, it is science, but thanks to a new technology being developed at Cambridge, Mass.-based Molten Metal Technology, such a scenario is no longer fiction.

Molten Metal is one of a handful of young companies attracting growing interest from venture capitalists and turning heads on the environmental scene. While those in the business are wary of terming the current upswing for environmental businesses a revolution, analysts and investors say legislative and social pressures are combining to create a good milieu for scientists to apply new--or sometimes old--technologies to remedying mounting environmental problems. "Just as the '70s was the decade for electronics and computers and...

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