Coffee as a renewable fuel

Every morning I start my day with a fresh cup of coffee. I wake up with the prospect of having my coffee made of freshly crushed Colombian coffee beans. I pour some water into the machine and let it get hot and steamy. While I put the crushed beans into the piston. I firmly push the coffee together before I put the piston in place. And with one touch on the button the water starts flowing. Just 30 seconds and my coffee can be served. The smell of coffee wakes up the house and marks the beginning of the new day. But then I finish my coffee wash my cup, take out the piston and ready to turn it upside down above the trash I reconsider.. Everyday I throw away this brown substance, a product that travelled all this distance to come to my hand and be drunk as coffee. A product of hard working people on the coffee fields in the mountains of Colombia. What a waste. Could it not be possible to generate something from this? If every day these beans can give me so much energy, it cannot be that this is its sole purpose.

And indeed.. it seems.. it is not. The brown substance; the coffee grounds can in fact be used as a heat source, as energy, as a fuel and as a biomaterial. It can even be a better fuel than wood. As coffee is being drunk excessively all around the globe coffee grounds have a widespread availability and low costs. Now leftovers often end up in landfills or at best it might be used as soil conditioner. Because there is so much coffee available it could easily provide for the total energy demand of, say, a Starbucks factory. It would reduce their waste and increase their sustainable reputation.

Who would not want this to work? As nowadays, it is all about closing cycles and reusing your waste. What would be better then to start your mornings with contributing to a more sustainable society?


Now, YOU, have your own renewable fuel resource, made by YOU.

Tiwanee van der Horst