Full of beans: Coffee grounds to help power London's buses

Seeing as I'm already on my third cup of the day writing this, hence all the maths going on here, I'm definitely doing my bit for London's transport situation.

Oil giant Shell and United Kingdom start-up bio-bean have teamed up on a project to provide a low carbon biofuel for London buses that contains waste coffee grounds collected from high-street retailers. Biofuel made using waste products such as cooking oil and tallow from meat processing is already used in numerous capital's 9,500 buses, the report said. Given London mayor Sadiq Khan's recent declaration that all new single-decker buses in London will run on zero-emission fuels starting next year, coffee-powered B20 looks to be a suitable complement to the electronic buses the city plans to purchase in the months and years ahead. Currently, all coffee grounds are taken from inside the M25, but if they were to source further afield, it'd be a darn sight easier to power all of London on cleaner, more sustainable, fuel without us needing to down 12 cups of coffee a day.

Transport for London (TfL) has increasingly turned to using biofuels to reduce transport emissions. Founder Arthur Kay tells the Independent that coffee actually has very high oil content - 20 percent by weight - so "it's a really great thing to make biodiesel out of". Bio-bean and fuel partner Argent Energy processes this oil into a blended B20 biofuel.

Bio-bean claims coffee sales create more than 200,000 tonnes of waste each year in London, and the company is collecting as much waste as it can from both factories and coffee shops.

Shell's involvement in the venture forms part of the oil company's #makethefuture energy relay, which supports entrepreneurs in the energy sector.

"A good idea can come from anywhere, but with the scale and commitment of Shell, we can help enable true progress", said Lynch in a company statement. Bio-Bean is also targeting the USA for its coffee-fused fuel source. If it were exclusively combined with the mineral diesel that would produce enough fuel to power a London bus every day for a year.

  • Eleanor Harrison