While cof­fee has been driv­ing so­ci­ety’s pro­duc­tiv­ity for years, it will now also help power Lon­don’s buses

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While cof­fee has been driv­ing so­ci­ety’s pro­duc­tiv­ity for years, it will now also help power Lon­don’s iconic buses.

Bri­tish startup Bio-bean has part­nered with Shell and Ar­gent En­ergy to cre­ate a cof­fee-based biofuel that will be used in Lon­don’s diesel buses.

It is es­ti­mated that Lon­don­ers drink more than 20 mil­lion cups of cof­fee a day, with 200,000 tonnes of grounds pro­duced by the cap­i­tal alone each year.

Con­sump­tion on such a scale brings with it a lot of waste, but Bio-bean’s so­lu­tion is to con­vert that waste into pro­duc­tive use.

The com­pany claims its fac­tory can re­cy­cle 50,000 tonnes of waste cof­fee grounds each year, cre­at­ing a cof­fee- de­rived B20 biofuel on a scale large enough to help power some of Lon­don’s buses. The cof­fee is sourced through partnerships with cafes, restau­rants and fac­to­ries, and trans­ported to Bio-bean’s re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity.

From this cof­fee, oil is ex­tracted. Blended with other fats and oils to cre­ate a 20 per cent bio­com­po­nent, this is then mixed with min­eral diesel to cre­ate a cof­fee- de­rived B20 biofuel, which can be used in diesel buses with­out mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Our cof­fee logs have al­ready be­come the fuel of choice for house­holds look­ing for a high-per­for­mance, sus­tain­able way to heat their homes — and now, with the sup­port of Shell, bio-bean and Ar­gent En­ergy have cre­ated thou­sands of litres of cof­fee- de­rived B20 biodiesel which will help power Lon­don buses for the first time,” Bio-bean founder Arthur Kay says.

“It’s a great ex­am­ple of what

can be done when we start to reimag­ine waste as an un­tapped re­source.”

The com­pany says Lon­don pro­duces enough waste cof­fee grounds to cre­ate a pure-blend B20 biofuel on a scale large enough to help fuel around a third of the Lon­don bus net­work.

Bio-bean has pro­duced 6000 litres of cof­fee oil for the pi­lot project with Lon­don’s trans­porta­tion author­ity, Trans­port for Lon­don, which is enough to help power the equiv­a­lent of one city bus for a year.

“When it comes to clean en­ergy, we are al­ways look­ing for the next in­ven­tive so­lu­tion,” Shell UK coun­try chair Sinead Lynch says. “A good idea can come from any­where, but with the scale and com­mit­ment of Shell, we can help en­able true progress.

“We’re pleased to be able to sup­port Bio-bean to trial this in­no­va­tive new en­ergy so­lu­tion which can help to power buses, keep­ing Lon­don­ers mov­ing around the city – pow­ered in part by their waste cof­fee grounds.”

“It’s a great ex­am­ple of what can be done when we reimag­ine waste as an un­tapped re­source”

Lon­don re­port­edly pro­duces enough waste cof­fee grounds to fuel a third of the city

Photo credit: Shell

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