Bio-bean is turning coffee waste into pellets that can heat your home and office building.
Believe it or not, coffee beans are good for more than just a morning brew or a facial scrub. In London, the grounds are being repurposed into a sustainable fuel that can heat your car and home.
Arthur Kay, the founder and CEO of Bio-bean, has figured out a way to turn coffee grounds into pellets that can heat buildings. The 24-year-old entrepreneur was first struck with the idea to transform coffee grounds into a sustainable fuel while he was attending University College London, reports WIRED.
Bio-bean, which is based in London, successfully transforms tons of unused coffee grounds – often sourced from local cafes, office blocks, and instant coffee factories – into biofuel. Most of the grounds are obtained for free in exchange for being received of waste-management costs.
The innovative process involves first sifting and drying the grounds to eliminate moisture. Next, the material is then passed through mechanical machinery and is mixed with an organic solve to remove existing plant oils.
Last December, Kay shared with WIRED that his real interest was initially in collection and recycling. “I was thinking about how to design sustainable cities, how to fuel the city of the future,” he said.
The inquisitive entrepreneur settled on coffee waste because of the substance’s heat-generating properties. Also, coffee grounds are quite easy to collect, and there’s no shortage of them.
In fact, the UK produces more than 500,000 tons of coffee waste per year. At present, Bio-bean can process about 50,000 per year.
Every amount matters, however. According to the company, “Every tonne of waste coffee grounds recycled using bio-bean’s technology saves 6.8 tonnes of C02 emissions. It’s like driving from London to Beijing — twice.”
Kay is working on scaling up the operation to handle more coffee grounds, first in London, then in other areas around the globe.
“There’s nothing unique about the UK coffee market,” Kay says. “There’s no reason why this thing couldn’t be done around the world.”
The company also aims to create liquid biodiesel for vehicles.
“You can apply this technology to thousands of other waste streams, and that’s where we see growth,” says the entrepreneur.
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