A UK based company is making excellent use of wasted ground coffee beans, proving coffees potential as a sustainable energy solution.
Let’s start at the beginning and take a look at how coffee's biodiesel potential was discovered?
While studying architecture at The Bartlett, London’s Global University, Arthur Kay had an epiphany when he was set the task of creating a coffee roaster & coffee shop.
As he delved into his assessment he "quickly realized that coffee was being wasted everywhere. It was pouring out of coffee shops, office blocks, transport hubs and factories”.
This prompted Mr Kay to take a different approach towards the assessment, rather than viewing the coffee wastage as a challenge, he saw it as a business opportunity which had not yet occurred to the industry.
Mr Kay’s change of focus led him to discovering a method for refining the super-high oil content in waste coffee grounds into biodiesel. His novel take on the assessment proved ingenious…
The process was proven scientifically successful which prompted Mr Kay to set-up his company Bio-Bean in London. Mr Kay’s tenacity has seen him attract endorsements from Boris Johnson and Sir Richard Branson.
The business partners with operating supply-chain partners to amass London’s 200,000 tons of coffee ground waste, converting this waste into biomass pellets.
Mr Kay’s focus is big-picture, he is not satisfied with remaining small-scale, but rather he’s looking to seize opportunities for large companies to save money while improving sustainability.
"Every building needs heat, every engine needs fuel. Bio-bean is a truly scalable solution and could be adapted to every city… plus both coffee and biofuel markets are expanding rapidly,” said Mr Kay.
Research from the University of Bath Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies backs-up his large-scale focus as logistically realistic.
The research from Bath concluded 8 million cups of coffee are made annually across the globe. Ground coffee waste comprises 20% oil per unit weight. It approximates a smaller coffee shop would generate about 10 kilograms of waste each day, this waste could instead be used to produce 2 litres of biofuel.
The 100% carbon neutral biomass pellets can be utilised for a variety of applications such as for building heating in offices and supermarkets.
Coffee oil refined into biodiesel has varied applications, one of which is potentially powering transportation machines.