bio-bean® collects and recycles coffee grounds into biofuel

Posted on 22 December 2015.

What if drinking a cup of coffee were the environmentally friendly option? bio-bean® recycles coffee grounds into biofuel to heat 15,000 London households.

Coffee is a favorite drink in Europe. But what about all the coffee grounds that are thrown away for every espresso drunk at the bar? This bio-waste with its known fertilizing and deodorant attributes is just perfect for inspiring recycling companies. In England, Arthur Kay, the founder of bio-bean®, designed and developed a method of converting coffee grounds into energy. He came up with the idea while he was studying architecture and working on a waste-recycling project designed to produce energy for buildings.

From coffee grounds to biofuel

bio-bean® collects coffee waste from coffee manufacturers, bars, offices and even London transport centers. Six major stations, including Victoria and Waterloo, are involved in the "harvest", which can bring in several hundred tons a week. The technical recycling process involves separating the elements: the dry residues are separated from the oils, which make up 20% of the coffee grounds. The dry waste is turned into biomass pellets to fuel boilers and the oils are recycled into biofuel or biodiesel for cars and buses. In its 20,000 sq ft plant, bio-bean® can now process 50,000 tons of coffee grounds every year - and aims to supply heat to 15,000 London homes.

In the Netherlands, spent coffee grounds turn into steam

Spent coffee grounds are also recycled into a source of renewable energy in Joure, the Netherlands. In the roasting plant of Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE, formerly known as Sara Lee) they produce instant coffee and liquid coffee concentrate. Veolia collaborated with JDE to develop a more efficient and unique drying and combustion system. The spent coffee grounds are used as a biomass fuel for the biomass boiler, which produces all of the steam required for coffee production. It not only saves gas, but has also reduced the annual emissions of CO2 by 70%!


- Biomass: choosing coffee grounds to reduce carbon footprints