Marshall Medoff, founder of Xyleco on 60 Minutes

You never know who’s gonna be the one with the big idea. History has shown it’s not necessarily the person with the most impressive credentials.

A breakthrough can come from the least expected, perhaps like an 81-year-old eccentric from Massachusetts who toiled in isolation with no financial support for more than a decade.

His focus? A challenge that has stumped scientists for many years – how to transform inedible plant life into environmentally friendly transportation fuels in a clean and cost-effective way.

Video after the jump