coffee waste biofuel
Innovative startup company, bio-bean, teams up with industry giant, Shell, to power some of London’s buses using a biofuel made partly from waste coffee grounds.

Smart cities are are making a move towards biofuels, which provide a cleaner, more sustainable energy solution for public transport by decreasing carbon emissions.

London’s efforts include a concept by bio-bean, which first dries and processes the coffee waste before the coffee oil is extracted by its fuel partner, Argent Energy. In this leg of the process, the oil is processed into a blended B20 biofuel.

Powering the London bus

Producing 6,000 litres of coffee oil, which if used as a pure-blend for the bio component and mixed with mineral diesel to form a B20, could help power the equivalent of one London bus for a year.

The biofuel is being added to the London bus fuel supply chain and will help to power some of the buses; without need for modification.

The B20 biofuel contains a 20% bio-component, which contains part coffee oil.

“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.” said bio-bean’s founder Arthur Kay.

“It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to re-imagine waste as an untapped resource. We’ve started in the UK, but imagine the potential of a country like South Africa that drinks more than 3 billion cups of coffee a year.

"By rethinking our approach to waste, we can create smarter global cities and a brighter future for everyone.” Read more on Cape Town bus transport system looking to go green...

Coffee waste aids SDG goals

According to Fine Dinning Lovers, the average Londoner drinks 2.3 cups of coffee per day, which produces over 200,000 tonnes of coffee waste per year. This waste, which is destined for landfill, has the potential to emit 126 million kg of CO2, negatively impacting on climate change.

bio-bean works to collect some of these waste coffee grounds from high street chains and factories.

This latest collaboration is part of Shell’s #makethefuture energy relay, which supports entrepreneurs turning bright energy innovations into a positive impact for communities around the world.

Sinead Lynch, Shell UK Country Chair, said: “When it comes to clean energy, we are always looking for the next inventive solution.  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.”

bio-bean founder, Arthur Kay, won the Shell LiveWIRE’s Innovation Award in 2013 and the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Programme in 2012 with his concept of turning coffee waste into fuel.

Featured image: bio-bean