Ground Coffee Waste to Bio Fuel – Good ideas are to be applauded

Waste coffee grounds set to fuel London with biodiesel and biomass pellets.

Paper Cups are so intrinsically involved with coffee culture that anything related to coffee doesn’t escape our paper cups trained eyes, and this development is surely a welcome change to how waste is managed, or rather not just managed, not even recycled, re-purposed is the word.

Sometimes an idea seems so simple that you can’t believe why it was not already in use. Using waste coffee grounds to make biomass pellets and bio diesel occurred to Arthur Kay when he was studying architecture at UCL in 2012. His project was to study closed loop waste-to-energy systems for buildings, and he by chance chose a coffee house to work with. Here he came to know about the oil content in coffee and the sheer amount of waste produced in coffee making, 200,000 tonnes a year in London alone. He launched his company called Bio-bean.

What interested Kay most is the availability of a very pure stream of waste that is not adulterated by other wastes and need very little cleaning before processing, the waste is passed through a processing plant that extracts the oil and the remaining coffee ground is used to manufacture coffee-ground bio-fuel pellets for boilers and stoves.

This is indeed a great move, and most importantly what we liked most is how he explains his efforts as a way to close the sustainable consumption loop. The first step has been a lot talked about and people have concentrated a lot on the Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance movements to ethically source coffee, but once the coffee has been consumed, the chain ends abruptly, people do not bother how the waste is treated, he wants to close the loop by creating a sustainable way of ethically disposing the waste and generating energy in the process too.

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