coffee beans biodiesel

Biofuels from coffee grounds could help to power London( biodiesel, energy & start-ups)

That morning cup of coffee ahead of your daily commute may end up providing more than just the refreshing boost needed to tackle the day ahead. London-based company, Bio-bean, hopes to turn left-over coffee grounds into biodiesel for vehicles and biomass pellets to heat buildings.

(Vidéo sous-titré en français)

While using recycled coffee grounds to power a car is nothing new, the difference with Bio-bean is its grand ambitions to massively scale up a system of recycling, processing and fueling for a large city, in this case London. Basically, it wants the city’s coffee dispensaries to contribute their leftovers, and then to process the grounds into pellets which can be used to heat homes. And because coffee waste is around 20 percent oil, it can also be processed into ethanol or biodiesel and used in cars and buses capable of burning the fuel.

Award-winning green energy company bio-bean has launched a London-wide collection service with to recycle waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels, with the assistance of Mayor Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith MP.
Mayor Boris Johnson helped to collect waste coffee grounds as part of the pioneering bio-bean service. The innovative coffee ground collection service is the brainchild of Arthur Kay, bio-bean CEO. The company produces biomass pellets from waste coffee grounds, which are used to power energy networks with the capacity to heat up to 15,000 homes.

The company collects coffee waste from industrial coffee factories, coffee shops, offices and transport hubs, including London’s seven largest rail stations. And while their current take amounts to just several hundred tons each week, they plan to scale up to 50,000 tons in 2016, about a quarter of London’s annual coffee waste. Coffee shops and other producers give their grounds to Bio-bean for free, which saves them from otherwise hefty landfill fees.

The coffee remains are dried at Bio-bean’s 20,000 square foot (1,860 sq m) facility, then the oil is separated through the biochemical process of hexane extraction. The remaining fiber, some 80 percent, is pressed into pellets which can be burned in boilers for heat, which are said to produce 150 percent more energy than wood pellets, due to a higher calorie content. The solvent used in the extraction process is 99.9 percent recyclable.

Coffee waste as a biofuel feed stock has several advantages. It doesn’t compete with food crops in the same way as first-generation biofuels made from corn or palm oil. And unlike cooking oil, which can also be used to power vehicles, coffee grounds don’t require an expensive filtering process. It’s also in constant and readily available supply, as long as cities throughout the modern world maintain their caffeine habits.

The inspiration for Bio-bean came from founder Arthur Kay, who was tasked in his university architecture program with devising a sustainable closed-loop waste-to-energy system to power buildings. And like any successful startup looking to scale up, Bio-bean has been able to gain top end support, including from Virgin’s Richard Branson and London mayor Boris Johnson.

“Bio-bean saves money for customers and creates environmental advantages compared to other forms of waste disposal,” says Daniel Crockett, head of communications at the company. “The local government and business community have been extremely supportive in the early stages of our growth.”

The goal is to make enough pellets to heat upward of 15,000 homes. The fuel would eventually be used to help power the city’s transport system, which currently makes use of buses that run on biodiesel.

Company’s Process

 bio-bean unites chemical and mechanical techniques to create a pioneering process. 500,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds  are produced by the United Kingdom each year. bio-bean operates a 20,000 sq foot coffee waste recycling factory, with the operational capacity of process 50,000 tonnes per year.
  • Waste Coffee Collection

Before waste coffee grounds even reach the bio-bean factory, the process begins. Company’s sophisticated collection infrastructure provides waste coffee collection with commercial and environmental advantages for every partner.

  • Factory Process

The bio-bean factory recycles waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels. Waste coffee grounds pass through a complex array of machinery to remove contamination, lower moisture content and create coffee derived biomass pellets.

  •  Advanced Biofuels

At an industrial scale, bio-bean produces coffee-derived biomass pellets for heating buildings. Advanced biofuel of this nature has considerable commercial and environmental advantages over conventional biofuels. As opposed to conventional biofuels, bio-bean’s process uses a waste stream that would otherwise go to landfill, incineration or anaerobic digestion. For this reason, their biofuels may be termed advanced biofuels.

  • Français: la solution proposée par Bio-Bean, une société anglaise, pourrait offrir une seconde vie à vos restes du café!
  • Ou plutôt deux nouvelles vies. La première, c’est de produire du biocarburant avec le marc de café récupéré chez les producteurs ou les torréfacteurs. Grâce à une technologie proche de celle qui permet aux industriels du sucre de produire du biocarburant, Bio-Bean est capable de transformer les restes de café en un produit capable de propulser les voitures équipées de moteurs adaptés. Mais la production de ce nouveau carburant laisse à son tour des déchets « solides », pour lesquels notre entreprise britannique a également une solution : compactés, ils sont transformés en granulés pour le chauffage. Pour l’instant, la société basée à Londres centre son activité sur la capitale anglaise et se permet même le luxe de produire local, et donc de limiter les émissions de CO2 de son activité. Soulignons d’ailleurs que cette activité écologique et durable vient appuyer l’ambition de Boris Johnson, maire de Londres, qui veut faire de sa ville la cité la plus verte du monde d’ici quelques décennies. Pour cela, il a fixé aux habitants et aux industriels locaux des objectifs ambitieux en terme de déchets (70% d’entre eux devront être réutilisés, recyclés ou compostés d’ici 2020) et d’émissions de CO2 (60% d’émissions en moins d’ici 2025).

    Source: Bio-bean,,

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