When thinking of coffee shop waste, we always tend to think of piles and piles of cups, but the average coffee shop throws out around 22 pounds of coffee grounds a day too. With so many coffee shops (sometimes three or four all within the same square mile) that adds up to A LOT of coffee, and a new startup is planning on turning that coffee into petrol and heating energy.
Founded in coffee-loving London, where it’s currently operating on a small scale, Bio-bean claims to be the first company to industrialise coffee-waste recycling. The company starts by collecting all the waste from coffee shops, and then taking it to a large local processing plant, where machines dry the grounds, extract the oil, and turn the rest into biomass pellets that can be used in heaters. The oil will be used as biofuel for cars and trucks.
Speaking to co.exist, the co-founder of Bio-bean, Arthur Kay said: “The U.K. biofuel market is rapidly expanding due to a combination of high prices conventional fuel supplies and increased consumer awareness. This market increase, combined with the low cost and sustainability benefits of our biofuels, means our biofuels are in high demand.”
Bio-bean is aiming to eventually bring power directly back to the coffee shops that supply it, making the whole process a nice big circle, and, after continuing to develop the system in London, the startup hopes to expand internationally.
Image via Glenn Fleishman