Coffee to Fuel? More Likely than you Think!

Are you tired of your old coffee grounds being sent to rot in landfills? Well, there is a potential for a recyclable alternative to this, and it may work. The problem is, it’s hard to really make this into a valuable resource.  Our world drinks 2 billion cups of coffee each day, which creates 6 million tons in this alone.  When they go the landfill, this will release into the atmosphere, contributing of course, to global warming. A company called bio-bean though, is taking 7000 tons of these to use as biofuels.  They started to use this at first in diesel buses in London, but it really wasn’t viable, so they used this instead for industrial and household use.  These fuels then release greenhouse gases when burned, but if they’re replaced with other carbon based fuels, there is a chance this can reduce the emissions by 80% when compared to sending these to the landfill.

Bio-bean has raised over $7 million in funding, and it recycles grounds that are collected from Costa Coffee, the London Stansted airport, and of course the Network Rail, which is a UK rail system.  This is an innovative solution, and while it is on a small scale, this is definitely making changes.  While it has been impacted by the pandemic, operations are of course continuing. While coffee outlets in the UK have closed temporarily, they manage to get the grounds from different recycling partners, but at much lower volumes.

Should grounds be used as fuel? Well, this can be used to remove paper or plastic cups and bags.  From there they’re passed through a dryer, creating a screening process, and are finally processed into products such as biomass pellets and of course fire logs. This also offers a natural flavor extract that comes from this too.

The pellets that are made can power the industrial boiler, heat commercial greenhouses, or even to dry cereal crops, while the coffee logs are used in wood-burning stoves in order to help heat homes.

It’s actually a fantastic fuel too.  They burn about 20% hotter and 20% longer than the normal wood logs which are used do, so it is a viable process, and something which is considerable in terms of size and scale.

These recycled coffee grounds have markable potential as fuel for a lot of people, but it also is good since it’ll save carbon and is a good alternative for dealing with coffee grounds waste or turning it into mulch.  These grounds are higher in sulfur and nitrogen than most wood, that emits harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides when they are burned.  These commercial biomass pellets also have lower particulate emissions than most of the wood logs.

Of course, despite the pandemic, they plan to expand into northwestern Europe within the next five years, giving a great alternative fuel to other people that will help them as well.