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By a guest author on

How could coffee power our cities?

In this guest blog post, Arthur Kay, founder and CEO of bio-bean, explores how his company is working with the Science Museum to recycle coffee waste into useful fuels.

2015 is such an exciting year for bio-bean, as we work to close the loop on London’s coffee waste, but what does that have to do with the Science Museum? bio-bean are huge fans of the museum, and our technology is even featured in an exhibit called ‘How could coffee power our cities?’

Part of the bio-bean exhibit on display at the Science Museum.
Part of the bio-bean exhibit on display at the Science Museum.

This set us thinking about the actual waste coffee that comes out of the museum, so we decided to work with Benugo, who supply food and drink to the Science Museum’s cafes. Later this year, when you drink a cup of coffee in the Energy Cafe or Deep Blue, the waste coffee grounds will be separated, collected and transported to our world-first processing facility, a 20,000 square foot factory just outside London.

Our process is patented and world-first so we can’t give away too many details, but bio-bean will recycle waste coffee grounds from the Science Museum into Advanced Biofuels of two forms: pellets and biodiesel.

Advanced Biofuels are an energy source made from something that would otherwise have been wasted. This is what we mean by ‘closing the loop.’ If biodiesel from waste coffee can go back into powering our cars or lorries, we can get closer to reducing dependency on conventional fuels.

We want bio-bean to help engage young people with science – that’s a goal we share with the Science Museum. bio-bean was set up with a spirit of innovation to meet a real-world challenge. We want to one day soon have a bio-bean van powered entirely by coffee waste collected from the V&A, Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. This is such a great opportunity for us to really demonstrate our commitment to the circular economy, as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

We were honoured late last year to be invited to show our technology in the Science Museum. As the first company in the world to industrialise this process, we are keen to tell our story and inspire others to approach real-world problems with a sense of curiosity, adventure and experimentation.

Arthur Kay, founder and CEO of bio-bean, is the winner of the international 2014 Green Challenge award which supporters green entrepreneurs in pioneering business. The Green Challenge is funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.