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Scientists have advanced their work on giving used coffee waste a second lease-on-life as a viable fuel source for cars.

A study by the University of Bath found the waste material of beans originating from a number of geographic areas, and of different varieties, can be used to produce the biofuel.

The concept isn’t strictly new. In 2011 we watched as a car running on coffee grounds broke the world speed record for a car powered by organic waste, while companies such as Beanergi in the UK collect coffee grounds from London cafes and turn the unwanted material into pellets used to heat homes and offices.

This latest study, however, has found that all waste coffee grounds has reasonably standard composition and relevant physical properties, irrespective of their source.

For years scientists have been working on ways to turn organic matter into biofuel. The difference with this plan is there’s no need to grow fields of crops for the sole purpose of producing energy.


The coffee grounds would otherwise end up as landfill and given the rate of coffee consumption by people all over the world, it’s being billed as a sustainable fuel source.

Researchers from the University’s Centre for Sustainable Technologies were able to turn 10 kilograms of coffee grounds into two-litres of biofuel.

According to the University the biodiesel could be utilised by coffee shop retail chains to power vehicles to make deliveries and transport their own waste grounds to processing facilities.

There’s still a long way to go, though. At its current production rate, we’d have to consume a hell of a lot of coffee to keep the biofuel flowing.

Or we could start bathing and washing clothes in freshly brewed coffee, watering the lawn, washing the dog… maybe there’s potential here.