London’s buses will soon run on COFFEE

We all need a coffee to get us going in the morning – unless you’re one of those people with boundless energy. Now it looks as if London buses also need that caffeine rush after Shell and bio-bean teamed up to turn our waste coffee grounds into fuel for TfL’s iconic red buses.

The average Londoner drinks just under two and a half cups of coffee a day, producing over 200,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds per year. Shell and bio-bean believe that waste can be turned into B20 biofuel to power a third of London’s bus networks. Bio-bean estimates that 2.55 million cups of coffee is all that’s needed to fuel a single London bus for a year on B20 biofuel and that means if just over one million of London’s near 9 million population drank their average 2.3 cups of coffee a day, a single bus could run on cleaner fuel for a year.

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In fact, if everyone in London just drank a mere 12 cups of coffee a day, we’d be able to power every single bus in London for a year. 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.

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Shell and bio-bean will use the waste grounds from major high street chains, independent coffee shops and instant coffee factories to create the coffee oil needed to make the B20 biofuel. This coffee oil is then mixed with mineral diesel to create the biofuel for London’s buses. 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.

The advantage of using B20 biofuel is that no London bus will need to be modified to use the fuel. It’s simply a matter of changing what you put into the tank, making it much cheaper to run slightly cleaner and more sustainable travel in the capital. The switch also helps towards Britain’s clean growth strategy. Bio-bean has been using coffee to deliver energy for a short while now, giving households the ability to burn coffee instead of wood for their fires.

“Our Coffee Logs have already become the fuel of choice for households looking for a high-performance, sustainable way to heat their homes – and now, with the support of Shell, bio-bean and Argent Energy have created thousands of litres of coffee-derived B20 biodiesel which will help power London buses for the first time,” said bio-bean’s founder Arthur Kay.  “It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource.”

In the press release, nobody actually answers the real burning question I have around using coffee for fuel. Will the streets of London now smell of fresh coffee? Because that’s a city smell I could really rally behind.

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