Catch a caffeine buzz, save the planet

Researchers in Nevada are reporting that waste coffee grounds can provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel for powering cars and trucks. … [The authors] note that the major barrier to wider use of biodiesel fuel is lack of a low-cost, high quality source, or feedstock, for producing that new energy source. Spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20 percent oil by weight. That’s about as much as traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, palm, and soybean oil.

details here


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    December 15, 2008

    New metric: I will know I’m living in the future when my diesel hybrid car smells like coffee all the time.

  2. #2 chezjake
    December 15, 2008

    Dunkin Donuts installs biodiesel pumps — your exhaust smells like coffee and donuts, and you can tell that you’re cutting emissions because the the exhaust clouds emerge from your tailpipe with visible donut holes (smoke rings). đŸ˜‰

  3. #3 John
    December 16, 2008

    If you ever light a coffee bean on fire, it does indeed pump out a fair bit of oil as it burns; in fact, one of the hazards of homeroasting is igniting your roast! There is plenty of warning, it smokes quite a bit to let you know that a palatable roast was, you know, five minutes ago…

    Personally, my grounds go in the compost. That stuff’s too valuable to waste on playing in giant go carts.

  4. #4 Dunc
    December 16, 2008

    The scientists estimated, however, that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply

    I’m going to assume that that’s per year… According to a comment over on The Oil Drum, world diesel demand is 22 million barrels per day. There are 42 US gallons in a barrel and 365 days in a year, so spent coffee grounds can potentially supply approximately 22,179 barrels per day, or 0.1% of current world demand, if you could capture all of them. Of course, that’s probably not accounting for the energy used in collection and processing.

    Not exactly what I’d call “abundant”…

  5. #5 Wilson
    December 17, 2008

    It would be wonderful if localized programs started sprouting up in metro areas that would allow things like this to be collected for the inevitable programs that would be required to serve these kinds of green happenings. Of course it could all be coordinated via the web for sign-ups and whatnot.

    Garbage on Mondays, coffee grounds on Tuesdays, used cooking oil on Thursdays…

  6. #6 l'oca s.
    December 18, 2008

    @ Greg L.
    thanks for idea, should work here, ground coffee is Italy’s national fragrance.
    No distilled sugarcane day? you’re from a dry state?