London buses to be powered by coffee waste

Ivan Schwartz
November 21, 2017

Bio-Bean says it's built a plant that can recycle 55,000 tons of coffee waste a year, and is partnering with two of London's biggest coffee chains, Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero, to collect their used grounds. "We've started in the UK, but imagine the potential of a country like The United States that drinks more than 164 billion cups of coffee a year", he added.

Global energy and petrochemicals group Shell, in partnership with London-based clean technology company bio-bean and United Kingdom biodiesel producer Argent Energy, is helping power some of London's buses through a new coffee biodiesel project - launched on Monday - which uses a biofuel made partly from waste coffee grounds.

London buses are set to be fuelled by a rather unusual item - waste coffee grounds. This coffee oil is then mixed with mineral diesel to create the biofuel for London's buses.

According to Bio-bean, the average Londoner drinks 2.3 cups of coffee a day, producing over 200,000 tonnes of waste a year. With some help from Shell, the company has so far produced enough coffee-derived biofuel to run one double-decker bus for a full year.

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"There is a huge potential for this project to expand in the U.S., which drinks the most coffee on the planet, 400 million cups per day", the Bio-Bean website states.

Shell supports the trial as part of its #makethefuture energy relay.

According to the website of Transport for London, it has been turning to biofuels to curb carbon emissions, trialing a fuel made with used cooking oil from the catering industry. Founder Arthur Kay said it was a "great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource". If it were exclusively combined with the mineral diesel that would produce enough fuel to power a London bus every day for a year.

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