macro trend: circular economy

2017 November 30

london transport trials bio diesel made from londoners’ coffee grounds

In London alone, 200,000 tonnes of coffee waste are produced every year and a number of ingenious schemes are being trialled to find a use for this waste and avoid it ending up in landfill where it has been estimated that it could emit upwards of 126 million kg of CO2. One such scheme is a collaboration between Royal Dutch Shell, Bio-bean and Transport for London to turn used coffee grounds into high quality bio diesel to power London’s buses.

“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.” - Sinead Lynch, Shell UK

Bio-bean is partnering with a number of high-profile businesses including Costa Coffee to collect used coffee grounds for processing into fuel at their Cambridgeshire factory.


image courtesy of bio-bean

Bio-bean has industrialised the process of waste coffee recycling into biofuel; their factory can process 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year to create enough power to heat 15,000 homes. Each tonne recycled through Bio-bean’s process saves up to 6.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Waste coffee grounds are dried and processed to extract the oil which can be made into bio-mass pellets and Coffee Logs, for use on stoves and open fires as well as the bio diesel. 15,000 homes across London are already heated by waste coffee beans. 

>< opinion

Collaboration across industry on circular economy initiatives opens up all sorts of potential for exciting and sustainable solutions to reduce waste and reuse resources. Waste is perhaps an out-dated concept – instead we should be asking, “where is the value in this by-product?”  and seeking partnerships to commercially exploit it.


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