Britain wakes up to the energy of coffee
Millions of us enjoy an energy boosting cup of coffee to help us start the day. But what if that same cup of coffee could also produce energy to help power the planet? A bright new start-up company named bio-bean might have found the answer.
In the UK we worked with bio-bean, a company dedicated to recycling coffee waste from across the UK into carbon-neutral biomass products. The company collects and processes 50,000 tonnes of waste grounds a year, saving 6.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions for every tonne re-cycled. The collaboration with bio-bean helped turn coffee waste collected from factories, coffee shops and offices into a sustainable transport fuel.
Every year thousands of tonnes of used coffee grounds produced by coffee factories, coffee shops and offices head for landfill or incineration. But with Shell’s support, bio-bean turned these waste grounds into an effective biofuel.
At bio-bean’s innovative factory (a former aircraft hangar) the grounds are recycled into biomass pellets. The pellets make excellent fuel for heating buildings. In fact, each year bio-bean already make 10 million kilogrammes of these pellets every year, enough to power up to 15,000 British homes.
But it needn’t stop there. In the future bio-bean plan to turn their research towards versatile biodiesel production. If manufactured at an industrial scale, it could be perfect for transport use. And with each tonne capable of making up an impressive 200 litres of fuel, that’s enough to run a London bus for a whole day.*
Bio-bean has grown from a simple but brilliant idea to a twenty-strong team with global ambitions and a string of awards to their name. Notably as a finalist in the 2013 Shell LiveWIRE young entrepreneur of the year and as recipient of the 2013 Innovation award. Bio-bean was also a big winner in the Shell Springboard programme for low-carbon SMEs, receiving an additional $57,000 in start-up funding. Helping them take another small step forward in their journey towards the mass adoption of this exciting new technology.
Every tonne of waste coffee grounds recycled using bio-bean's technology saves 6.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions. It's like driving from London to Beijing -- twice. Making it a perfect example of the new circular economy.
All this makes bio-bean yet another great example of how truly bright ideas really can help us #makethefuture.
And we’ll raise a cup of coffee to that.
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