Quantum Biopower completed building the equipment this fall and is waiting for final permits from state environmental regulators before it can start using the plant. It will process 40,000 tons of waste food a year to generate enough burnable gas to make 1.2 mega-watts of electricity, enough energy to power at least 700 homes a year. Southington will buy some of the electricity to power its buildings.

The company is still waiting on operating approvals, but it could begin generating electricity for local building as soon as next year.

Technology has caught up with “Back to the Future” where food waste is converted into energy. It’s not Doc Brown dropping a banana peel into Mr. Fusion to power his Deloreon time machine, but rather Quantum Biopower’s new anaerobic digester — the first of its kind in the state.