Reanimating Coffee

fuel-gauge-coffee-mugConsidering the coffee farming and roasting operation, not to mention all the coffee served at Chan Chich Lodge; also considering the constant search for new options relevant to ecologically sensitive operations, this catches our attention. Thanks to Anthropocene and Prachi Patel:

A simpler route to biodiesel from used coffee grounds

The world produces almost 10 million tons of waste coffee grounds every year. Researchers have now discovered an efficient way to turn that waste into a green fuel. Their simple one-step process, outlined in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, would save time and the cost of producing biodiesels from coffee.

Biofuels are mostly made from sugarcane, corn, and palm oil today; sugary plants are used to make ethanol while palm oil is converted to biodiesel. But growing these plants for fuel can cause deforestation and compete with agriculture for land and water. Using wastes such as restaurant grease is a more sustainable alternative.

Coffee grounds are a good feedstock for fuels because of their high calorific value. Recycled coffee is already used to make fire logs and composite materials for furniture. And researchers have recently come up with ways to turn coffee waste into water-purifying and carbon-capturing materials…

…The method could yield around 800,000 tons of biodiesel, or over 286 million gallons, a year. That is, if spent coffee grounds could be all collected and processed. Right now, most coffee waste goes to the landfill.

Source: Najdanovic-Visak V et al. Kinetics of extraction and in situ transesterification of oils from spent coffee grounds. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 2017.

Read the whole summary here.

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