herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Get up and go: coffee to be turned into biofuel

SCIENTISTS have made biofuel from caffeinated and decaffeinated ground coffee.

New research from the University of Bath suggests waste coffee grounds could be a “sustainable fuel source” for powering vehicles.

The study found different varieties of coffee have reasonably standard composition and relevant physical properties of fuel. This means all coffee waste could be a “viable” way of producing biodiesel.

Waste produced from the average coffee shop - around 22lb each day - was found to produce around two litres of biofuel.

Chris Chuck, Whorrod research fellow at the university, said the research highlighted the potential for waste coffee to be a “truly sustainable” biofuel.

CULTIVATED

“Around eight million tonnes of coffee are produced globally each year and ground waste coffee contains up to 20pc oil per unit weight,” he said.

“This oil also has similar properties to current feedstocks used to make biofuels. But, while those are cultivated specifically to produce fuel, spent coffee grounds are waste.”

Oil can be extracted from coffee by soaking grounds in an organic solvent, before using a process called transesterification to turn them into biodiesel.

Dr Chuck added that coffee biodiesel would be a minor part of the energy mix but could be produced on a small scale by coffee shop chains to fuel vehicles used for deliveries.

hnews@herald.ie

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