Category: Journal

29 Jun 2017
business green leaders awards 2017

Arthur Kay wins Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2017 BusinessGreen Leaders Awards

bio-bean CEO and founder Arthur Kay was thrilled to be named Entrepreneur of the Year at the the 10th anniversary of the esteemed BusinessGreen Leaders Awards last night, while our partnership with Network Rail was Highly Commended.

In 2013 while still an architecture student, Arthur saw the potential in waste coffee grounds as a feedstock for biofuels. Since then he has developed this idea into a 40-strong company that provides an industrial-scale solution to the problem of coffee waste while reducing carbon emissions, saving businesses money, and displacing conventional fuels.

Winning this prestigious award recognises Arthur’s significant achievements over the last four years, and the team at bio-bean offer him hearty congratulations.

BusinessGreen said:

“In one of our most competitive categories Arthur Kay won over the judges for the emergence of bio-bean as one of the most exciting green start-ups in the UK today. Kay has single-mindedly pursued a vision to turn waste into sustainable fuel and has developed a successful and increasingly high profile business with hugely impressive green credentials in the process.”

Network Rail and bio-bean – bio-bean’s coffee recycling partnership with Network Rail was Highly Commended in the Circular Economy Project of the Year category. Network Rail is one of bio-bean’s longest-standing coffee suppliers, with 100s of tonnes of spent coffee grounds from railway stations all over London arriving at our Alconbury factory every year.


A panel of distinguished environmental leaders including InnovateUK, Green Alliance, Aldersgate Group and ClientEarth chose the winners, recognising clean technology companies and sustainable business models that are driving the green economy throughout the UK and Europe.

Other winners included former executive secretary to the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, IKEA and Carbon Tracker Initiative.

Congratulations Arthur, and well done to the bio-bean team members who have worked closely with Network Rail!

13 Jun 2017
Coffee logs in a shop

New Coffee Logs retail partnerships

We’re delighted to announce that thanks to our sales team’s hard work over recent months, some leading retail chains have begun stocking Coffee Logs – our wonderfuel for stoves, fires and chimineas – in their stores.

You can now find the wonderfuel Coffee Logs for sale at selected Whole Foods and Blue Diamond outlets, as well as online at Abel & Cole, Crocus and Logs Direct.

We also have a number of other major retailers in the pipeline, so it’s set to be even easier to pick up a bag from your local store.

Meanwhile the number of independent garden centres and farm shops stocking Coffee Logs continues to grow, and some have come up with great ideas to promote our product. In this example, Poplars Garden Centre in Dunstable offers a free coffee with your bag of Coffee Logs!

To find your nearest Coffee Logs stockist please visit our Coffee Logs page, or to stock our product email

01 Jun 2017
Team and Shell at make the future 2017

bio-bean at Make the Future festival 2017

Last week bio-bean took part in Shell’s Make the Future festival of ideas and innovation at the Olympic Park, London.

Coinciding with an incredible late May heatwave it was a smashing success, with visitors coming to hear from inspirational clean energy entrepreneurs, try out unusual methods of energy generation, and catch the Eco Marathon featuring energy-efficient cars built by university teams from around the world.

bio-bean founder and CEO Arthur Kay, a Shell LiveWire UK alumnus, joined entrepreneurs’ panel events…

… talked about using Coffee Logs with renowned French chef Ludo Lefebvre

… and spoke to The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury and Richard Ayoade of The IT Crowd about bio-bean’s work, along with policy experts Tony Juniper and Kelsey Lynn Skinner, and fellow entrepreneurs Moya Power and GrowUp Urban Farms. The panel will be turned into an Intelligence Squared podcast – watch this space.


Meanwhile, visitors to the bio-bean barbecue installation saw Coffee Logs in action!


Image credit: Shell #makethefuture

16 May 2017
tower at the University of Birmingham

bio-bean launches waste coffee collection in Birmingham

In the first expansion of its collection route outside of London, bio-bean’s collection and recycling services are now available to coffee shops, office blocks and other businesses that produce coffee waste all over Birmingham. bio-bean has already begun recycling spent coffee grounds from catering outlets across the University of Birmingham campus with waste management company First Mile.

Working with bio-bean saves businesses money on waste disposal fees, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through diverting waste from landfill. The spent coffee grounds will be taken to our world-first coffee recycling facility in Cambridgeshire and will be processed into innovative, sustainable biofuels like Coffee Logs, which save more emissions by displacing conventional fossil fuels.

Our founder and CEO Arthur Kay said – “I’m thrilled that we have begun recycling waste coffee from Birmingham – we can now help hundreds more businesses save money and cut their CO2 emissions. We’re keen to get recycling coffee grounds from all of Birmingham’s coffee shops, restaurants and offices, so if you would like to join our coffee collection route, visit our website at”

Stuart Richards, Director of Hospitality and Accommodation Services, University of Birmingham, said – “With more than 40,000 staff and students based on our campus in Edgbaston we anticipate that around 22 tonnes of coffee grounds are produced each year, so it is great to be able to work in partnership with companies like bio-bean and First Mile to maximise the use of our waste resources and support our Carbon Management Plan. This relationship will further promote jobs, skills and innovation in the West Midlands and we are very excited to be the first university to partner with them.”

Birmingham-based businesses interested in joining the collection route should visit our Collection page.

11 Apr 2017
Glowing bio-pellets

Decarbonising Growth

The latest report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has fundamentally undermined the last remaining vestiges of the climate sceptic’s argument. To all intents and purposes, we’ve proved the planet is warming, we’ve proved it’s caused by human activity and now we’ve finally demonstrated that avoiding this crisis doesn’t have to come at the cost of economic growth.

In other words – it’s possible to decouple economic growth from CO2 emissions and the UK is leading the way.

The ECIU report investigates the correlation between per capita GDP growth and CO2 emissions in the G7 countries since they signed the UN climate convention in 1992.

Since then, all seven countries have seen impressive per capita GDP growth with even the slowest, Japan, growing by more than 80%. Traditionally it was assumed that his would inevitably lead to more emissions, yet five of the G7 nations have successfully cut their per capita CO2 emissions over the same period.G7 GDP

The UK has led the way in both respects as our GDP per capita grew by 130% while per capita greenhouse gas emissions fell by 33%. As a result, the UK’s carbon intensity – the amount of CO2 it takes to produce one unit of GDP – is the best of all G7 countries, falling by 53% over the period.

Per capita CO2 emissions - 1992 - 2014

This news comes as no surprise here at bio-bean. We are founded on the principle that the sustainable choice is the logical choice – that reducing waste and CO2 emissions presents enormous economic opportunities.

That’s why we’re saving businesses money on their waste collection costs while reducing their carbon footprint. That’s why our Coffee Logs are more sustainable while being better value than many traditional alternatives.

We are extremely proud of the role the UK is playing in the race to decarbonise our economy and are determined to what we can to further decouple economic growth from environmental impact.

21 Feb 2017
Canary Wharf Press Release

Canary Wharf creates Clean Coffee Zone with bio-bean

This month marks the start of the world’s first Clean Coffee Zone on the Canary Wharf Estate. As part of this scheme, bio-bean will collect the waste coffee grounds produced by the 900,000 people who visit the site each week.

bio-bean works with waste management company, Cawley’s, who collect waste coffee grounds from the 300 coffee shops, bars and restaurants on the estate. This is then compacted and sent on to bio-bean’s pioneering factory near Cambridge.

Our CEO and founder, Arthur Kay, said – “This exciting new partnership means the waste grounds from the coffee that warms the visitors to Canary Wharf in the morning could soon be heating their home in the evenings – all while helping London reduce its carbon footprint.”

bio-bean expects this latest partnership to yield another 300 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year, which will be processed into biochemicals and high performance biofuels like our new Coffee Logs.

20 Feb 2017
planet earth with headphones on

Podcast Recommendations

I’m obsessed with podcasts. They are the perfect distraction from tedious tasks like the morning rush hour commute on the tube.

So I thought I’d recommend a few podcasts relating to the the work we do here at bio-bean, the environment, and sustainability.

The Circulate Podcast
Made by the team at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, these guys are the experts on the Circular Economy and can always come up with fascinating insights and examples.
Episode: Cities as flows in the Circular Economy

edie’s Sustainable Business Covered
edie is one of the biggest sustainability news sites out there so they’re able to get some big names on their podcast.
Episode: Britain’s great green policy progressives – featuring Sadiq Khan and ClientEarth CEO, James Thornton

Their silliness might get slightly on your nerves but if you like that sort of thing they can be a laugh. ‘Inhofe of the Week’ is a great feature, inspired by the ridiculous US Senator.
Episode: Babies – featuring Business Green Editor-in-Chief, James Murray.

These guys are brilliant at constructing a compelling narrative and have some of the best sound design in the business.
Episode: Galapagos

BBC Podcasts
These podcasts are fantastically well researched and occasionally feature climate/sustainability topics.
BBC Analysis – How did we save the Ozone Layer? 
The Inquiry – Can we eat our way out of climate change?
The Documentary – Africa’s Ivory Dilemma

New Economics Foundation’s Weekly Economics Podcast
From one of the most interesting think tanks in the UK at the moment, this episode is part of their series written in response to the Brexit vote.
Episode: Really take control: Environment
Well, that’s my list. Happy listening, and leave a comment if you’ve come across any others.


By Charlie Thorneycroft, Policy Analyst

10 Feb 2017
Caffè Nero Press Release

bio-bean teams up with Caffè Nero

bio-bean has teamed up with another highstreet coffee giant – Caffè Nero – to recycle 218 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year into advanced biofuels – such as our Coffee Logs.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our recycling so we are very excited to be working with First Mile and bio-bean on this initiative and will seek to extend it beyond Greater London,” said Caffè Nero’s commercial director Matt Spencer.

bio-bean works with waste management company First Mile to provide Nero’s baristas with special recycling sacks, meaning it couldn’t be easier to keep the waste coffee grounds separate from the rest of the waste stream.

First Mile’s chief commercial officer Joe Allen said: “This service marks another step in our ambition to create a world where you can recycle everything. Waste coffee grounds would previously go to incineration or landfill, and it is fantastic to see Caffè Nero embrace this new initiative and start recycling a significant amount of waste coffee. We look forward to supporting a wider roll-out and working with Caffè Nero on other recycling challenges.”

29 Dec 2016
bio bean team at the factory

Grounds for optimism in 2017

It’s been a fantastic 2016 here at bio-bean. In the last twelve months we’ve launched our second product – Coffee Logs – grown our amazing team to over 40 people, raised millions more in funding and taken the bio-bean story global, with millions of views of videos and articles online. We have continued to build and establish valuable relationships with waste coffee grounds suppliers all over London – including chains such as Costa and LEON and begun trials with new waste management companies Biffa and Olleco.

2016 has also been a year of turbulence in our climate and politics.

This year saw the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere pass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million, and 2016 looks all but certain to be the hottest year on record – at 1.2ÂşC warmer than pre-industrial levels. These temperature changes have been linked to the severe weather we have been witnessing lately, such as the freak conditions in the Arctic that saw temperatures 33ÂşC above average and the latest storm, Barbara, hitting the UK over Christmas.

While climate change is beginning to have a discernible impact on our weather and economy, the UK has so far struggled to come up with a coherent policy framework to deal with this issue. The UK dropped to 14th place in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, down from 8th place in June 2015. The report cites the uncertainty over Brexit and the closure of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as reasons for this fall in confidence. The Committee on Energy and Climate Change blamed the “sudden and numerous policy announcements that [have] marred the UK’s reputation for stable and predictable policy development” such as changes to the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

On the other hand, it’s remarkable how far the Green Economy has come despite these setbacks and there are many reasons to look ahead with optimism to what’s to come in the New Year.

The fossil fuel divestment movement has become the fastest growing divestment movement in history, doubling in the last fifteen months and now totalling over $5tn – even against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth and political turmoil.

Some argue that Brexit and the closure of DECC will distract from climate change and relegate these issues down the list of national priorities. However, it also suggests that energy and climate policies are now an inherent part of our new industrial strategy, managed by BEIS in response to Brexit. There are now significant opportunities for green growth under the recently announced National Productivity Investment Fund as part of this new industrial strategy.

Brexit also presents an opportunity for the Circular Economy. As the pound falls and commodity and import prices rise, it becomes more attractive to make the most of the ‘waste’ resources already available here in the UK. The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump was met with outrage by many in the environmental movement, but there are many reasons to believe that he won’t be as damaging as many of these commentators fear. The technological progress that has made natural gas and wind energy cost-competitive with coal is unlikely to be reversed.

Instead, in 2017 we hope we’ll see more companies like bio-bean striving to make the sustainable choice the logical choice – by creating great products that outperform the competition, save families and businesses money and help the environment at the same time.

Happy New Year.

22 Dec 2016
Green Southwark Tube sign

Southwark Council joins the growing fossil fuel divestment movement

It’s great to hear that Southwark Council will be joining the fastest growing divestment movement in history. The £1.2bn Southwark pension fund is now the largest fund in the UK to end all its investments in fossil fuels as news emerges that the wider movement now totals $5.2tn, having doubled in the last fifteen months.

What’s remarkable is not only the speed of this movement but the context in which it has occurred. The fact that it has taken place against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth and the political turmoil of the last few years, suggests that this movement is no longer simply a typical divestment campaign based only on ethical concerns – but now represents a genuine commercial movement based on mitigating the financial risks of investing in assets that are gradually becoming more and more toxic.

Southwark Council will now begin gradually shifting their investments away from fossil fuels and are exploring new opportunities to invest in the development of sustainable energy infrastructure via the London CIV. In 2017, we expect to see many more organisations join the fastest growing divestment movement in history.