The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Innovative Startup Sells Coffee Grounds to Fuel Cars and Power Buildings
We've seen how coffee cups can turn into trees, but here's another way coffee shop waste can be used as a resource. Bio-bean, a new London-based company, is upcycling coffee grounds into biofuel, which can help power buildings and fuel cars while reducing waste.
Fresh off the mill @Bio_Bean_UK - biomass pellets made from waste coffee grounds... @NACUE @tom_pakenham @LondonSDC pic.twitter.com/mtnsGJbuk2
— bio-bean (@Bio_Bean_UK) January 29, 2014
With 200,000 tons of coffee grounds produced in London annually, the potential of pulp-into-power can be massive. Bio-bean doesn't just collect used grounds from local coffee shops, they also target roasting and freeze-dried coffee facilities.
"At first mention of recycling coffee grounds, people typically think of collecting a bag of coffee grounds from local shops," Arthur Kay, CEO and co-founder of bio-bean, told Co.EXIST. "The bio-bean process is much more sophisticated; we focus on wholesale instant coffee manufacturers and coffee-waste aggregators."
After collecting the grounds, the company transports it to their processing plant in north London where machines turn these old grinds into biomass pellets and biodiesel in a patented process. This carbon-neutral fuel is then sold to businesses to power buildings and vehicles.
Bio-bean says they can save up to 53,200 barrels of oil a year, or the same as driving a London bus around the world 7,675 times. That’s not to mention that the company uses its own biofuel to power their fleet of trucks that’s used to collect coffee waste.
"Bio-bean uses a cradle-to-cradle business model, which means we use a waste product and turn it into something of value." Kay says in the video. "London produces over 200,000 tons of waste coffee annually. Bio-bean hopes to tap into this resource in order to offset some of London's energy demands."
Coffee shops usually pay to have their grounds incinerated, taken to an anaerobic digestion plants or dumped in a landfill, where it releases harmful greenhouse gases, the company points out on their website. But with bio-bean, coffee grounds go further than giving you your morning fix.
"Bio-bean is aligned closely with the concept of the circular economy," Kay told Co.Exist. "We view waste more as a valuable resource, simply in the wrong place." (If you'd like to give a second life to your own coffee waste, try composting).
Since launching in 2012, bio-bean has won a slew of awards including the Mayor's Low Carbon Prize, a £20,000 award that helped set up the company. London's eccentric mayor Boris Johnson said of the company, "This kind of innovation is brilliant to see—we are 100 percent behind bio-bean, which is full of beans."
Looks like coffee can fuel the world in more ways than one.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.
By Jeremy Hance
VIETNAM, July 2019 – I'm chasing a ghost, I think not for the first time, as night falls and I gather up my gear in a hotel in a village in southern Vietnam. I pack my camera, a bottle of water, and a poncho; outside the window I can see a light rain.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.