London buses powered by your used coffee grounds

London buses powered by your used coffee grounds

Coffee is the fuel that sets thousands of Londoners up for a busy day in the nation’s capital, and now it's being used as a fuel in a more literal sense.

A recent announcement from leading technology organisation bio-bean confirmed that spent coffee grounds can now be used to run some London buses.

It sounds far-fetched, but bio-bean has been at the forefront of coffee recycling since its founding in 2013. They were the world’s first company to realise the potential in all those hot, damp grounds emptied out of private and commercial coffee machines on a daily basis. They began to industrialise the recycling process, turning used up coffee grounds into high-performance biochemicals and biofuels.

That high-impact buzz you get from your first cup of coffee in the morning is not an accident. In both its natural bean state and after it has been ground, coffee is a rich source of calories and various important compounds that can be extracted and put to use in commerce and industries. This makes coffee the perfect source material from which clean and efficient biofuels can be produced.

After many months of research and production, bio-bean advise that they have now generated a sufficient quantity of coffee oil that it can comfortably run a standard London bus for about a year.

With TfL (Transport for London) being increasingly in favour of using biofuels, in a concerted effort to reduce the emissions that its fleet of buses produce in the capital, using these bean-based fuels is an obvious solution.

There are nine and half thousand buses operating in London today, and many already utilise other kinds of biofuels, including ones sourced from tallow and cooking oil, but this is the first time one has been run using a fuel derived from such a plentiful and otherwise wasted resource as old coffee grounds.

The British Coffee Association (BFA) estimates that, as a nation, we consume 55 million drinks of coffee every day in the UK. Using bio-bean’s unique fuel blend, that would be enough to run twenty London buses for a whole year.

Indeed, bio-bean themselves believe that London alone generates over 200,000 tonnes of coffee-related waste each year. They gather the used grounds direct from the source – factories producing instant coffee, and the coffee shops themselves – and takes them to its factory, where it extracts the oil from them. This coffee oil is then blended with diesel to produce the cleaner, high-efficiency biofuel that is now being utilised within London’s public transport infrastructure.

Best of all, bio-bean assure that the fuel they create can power a bus without any need to modify the vehicle itself.

At Office Coffee Company we believe that recycling used coffee grounds is the way forward, we’ve been working hard with First Mile to collect used coffee grounds from our customers offices for over 12 months. We encourage all of our clients to recycle their used grounds to bio-bean, so that they can produce more of this remarkable fuel, rather than clogging up landfills across the country. So contact us and we’ll be in touch to set up your new greener recycling initiative.


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