Waste coffee grounds will be used to help power some of London’s buses from today.
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Biofuel made by blending oil from coffee waste and diesel will now be added to the fuel supply for the capital’s public transport.
Bio-bean, a technology company that recycles ground coffee, said it has produced enough coffee oil to run one bus in the capital for a year.
Transport for London recently turned to using biofuels to reduce emissions from vehicles. Biofuels made using waste products are already used to power many of London’s buses.
But coffee-derived biofuel will be officially added to the capital’s public transport vehicles for the first time on Monday.
According to research from Bio-bean and Shell, Londoners create 200,000 tonnes of waste from coffee every year. The firm processes a B20 biofuel from used grounds it collects from coffee shops and factories. Some 6,000 litres of coffee oil have been produced so far, the company said.
“It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource,” bio-bean founder Arthur Kay said.
It would take just over 2.55 million cups of coffee – blended with diesel – to run one of London’s buses for a year, Bio-bean estimates
The “smokeless” bio-fuel, billed as a sustainable alternative to wood and coal, will be stocked at garden centres, garages and DIY stores from October 21.
The makers of the logs, sold in bags of 16 for about £6, collect thousands of tons of waste wet grounds every day discarded from coffee chains, cafes and other outlets across London. They are dried, compacted and coated with wax. Oil in the coffee is extracted and used as a bio-diesel, removing the smell when the logs are burned.
Arthur Kay, founder of Southwark-based bio-bean, said its coffee logs burn longer and provide more heat than wood and save on carbon emissions. He said: “They are a low-cost, high-performance fuel.”
The backers of this biofuel include Sir Richard Branson, Shell and the GLA