Pellet fuel made from waste coffee grounds offers a sustainable solution for industry - bio-bean

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28th August 2019

Pellet fuel made from waste coffee grounds offers a sustainable solution for industry

It has become clear that burning carbon-heavy fossil fuels in the form of coal, oil and gas is no longer an option given the state of our climate, and that we must continue to find innovative and sustainable methods to generate energy. One such method is biomass. Using this bio-fuel to generate heat is not only cost effective, but a powerful tool in moving towards a low carbon economy.

Typically we think of biomass fuel in the form of wood logs, chips or pellets but there are many other sources of renewable low carbon fuel, many of which have the benefit of being a by-product of other industries. Therefore they are deemed advanced / second generation biofuels. And as we look for ways to transition from fossil fuels to lower carbon alternatives, we start to discover innovative uses for a number of residues formerly perceived of as waste.

Some examples across industry include: olive pomace – the waste from olive oil production; paper pulp recovered from paper mills; oat husk and coconut shells from the food processing industry; and cotton waste from textile manufacturing. Quick, fast-growing land crops such as straw and miscanthus are also increasingly used for biomass energy generation.

These are just some of the alternative raw materials that are being pelletised to create clean, low-carbon energy.

But at bio-bean, we’ve found another alternative: recycled coffee grounds. Heavy, wet grounds are the unavoidable waste from the production of a cup of coffee. And with 95 million cups of the hot beverage drunk every day in the UK alone, that means nearly half a million tonnes of waste grounds are created every year. These grounds, once decontaminated, dried and pelletised, become a ‘super’ fuel: highly calorific, consistent and well suited to burn in large commercial and industrial-sized boilers. They are also Sustainable Fuel Register accredited and therefore eligible for the RHI.

Our coffee pellets are used to heat commercial green houses, to dry cereal crops and create process steam in large-scale dairies. In most cases traditional oil or gas boilers have been removed and replaced with modern, efficient biomass boilers. Anywhere there is a need for large quantities of thermal heat there is a place for renewable low carbon biomass energy. And our coffee pellets offer the perfect, sustainable solution, diverting as much waste coffee grounds away from landfill as possible, displacing fossil fuels and helping to decarbonise industrial businesses across the UK.