Coffee starts powering London buses

21st November 2017

Web londonbus istock 646840410

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  • Energy ,
  • Transport ,
  • Waste



A biofuel made partly from waste coffee grounds was yesterday added to the fuel supply for London’s buses in an effort to help tackle the capital’s air pollution problem.

Clean technology company bio-bean has collaborated with Royal Dutch Shell to produce the fuel, which contains a 20% bio-component derived from coffee oil.

The buses will not need to be modified to run on the innovative energy source, which is hoped to provide cleaner and more sustainable power while reducing CO2 emissions.

“We have created thousands of litres of coffee-derived B20 biodiesel which will help power London buses for the first time,” bio-bean founder, Arthur Kay, said.

“It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource.”

The average Londoner drinks 2.3 cups of coffee a day, which produces over 200,000 tonnes of waste a year – much of which ends up in landfill with the potential to emit 126,000,000kg of CO2.

Bio-bean works to collect some of these waste coffee grounds from high street chains and factories, which are then dried and processed before oil is extracted and processed into a blended biofuel.

A total of 6,000 litres of coffee oil has been produced so far, which if used as pure blend for the bio-component, and mixed with mineral diesel, could help power the equivalent of one London bus for a year.

This comes after research found 95% of London’s population lives in areas exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for toxic air particles responsible for 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has committed to get pollution levels to within the guidelines by 2030, and recently introduced a T-charge forcing drivers of the most polluting vehicles to pay £10 in central London.

He also wants a stricter set of emission standards on future sales of wood burning stoves and has set out plans for improved education about the types of fuel that should be used.

“I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air,” he said. “The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces, with thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution, must be addressed.”


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