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Waste coffee grounds are used to make biodiesel blend

By Scott Jenkins |

A biodiesel fuel blend known as B20 contains oils derived from waste coffee grounds, and will be used to power mass transit buses in London. The fuel is made through a partnership among bio-bean ltd. (London, U.K.; www.bio-bean.com), which has developed a process for extracting useful oils from waste grounds, biodiesel producer Argent Energy and Royal Dutch Shell.

The B20 biofuel is made by combining oil from the waste coffee grounds with other recycled waste fats and oils, and blending that with mineral diesel fuel. Because recycled waste oils, including the coffee oil, makes up 20% of the B20 biofuel, it is 85% more carbon efficient than standard diesel and achieves a 10–15% CO 2 reduction over standard diesel.

Bio-bean works with waste management partners to collect waste coffee grounds from coffee chains, independent coffee shops, transport hubs, office blocks and instant coffee factories. The grounds are dried and processed at bio-bean’s Alconbury factory, before a specialized solid-liquid extraction process is used to isolate the oils from the waste grounds. The solvent is fully recovered and recycled, bio-bean says.

Argent Energy blends this coffee oil with other biologically derived fats and oils and then combines this mixture with mineral diesel to create a B20 blended biofuel. The fuel is then supplied directly into the London bus network. With Shell’s help, bio-bean and Argent Energy have produced 6,000 L of pure coffee oil, enough to produce 30,000 L of B20 biofuel.

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