photo: David Joyce
You may know that coffee is the world's second most traded commodity—a stat undoubtedly given a boost by the great caffeinated blogging legion—but, according to researchers in Nevada coffee could be doubly valuable: For use as biofuel. Well, the waste coffee grounds actually. Here's the skinny on coffee ground biodiesel:Coffee Grounds Have Similar Oil Content to Other Feedstocks
Researchers Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra and Narasimharao Kondamundi figured that since coffee grounds contain about as much oil by weight, 11-20%, as more traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, soybeans, or palm oil.
And given that more than 16 million pounds of coffee is produced each year, if the waste grounds could be given a second life as biodiesel feedstock, that could be a lot of biofuel: 340 million gallons to be exact. That's the equivalent of roughly 8 million barrels of oil, for those rushing to their calculators.
Yes, Coffee Biodiesel Smells Like Coffee
In testing the viability of this, the scientists collected coffee grounds from "a multinational coffeehouse chain" and produced biodiesel from the separated oil. The resulting fuel, yes, smelled like coffee, and "had a major advantage in being more stable that traditional biodiesel due to coffee's high antioxidant content". (Physorg)
Estimating that coffee ground biodiesel could turn a profit of $8 million a year in the US, the next step is to build a pilot plant and test the fuel.