London’s red buses to run on coffee waste

London’s iconic red buses will soon assimilate into the lives of Londoners by running, at least partially, on coffee.

On Monday this week, a company called Bio-bean teamed up with oil giant Shell to introduce a small amount of oil extracted from coffee waste into the diesel and biofuel mixture already used by the buses.

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The company will produce 6000 litres of fuel a year — less than 0.01% of the London buses’ total use in 2015. But the city’s authorities want to increase the number of buses fueled by a blend of diesel and biofuels.

It’s looking at using cooking oil waste, tallow (a form of beef and mutton fat), and — with Bio-bean — coffee waste.

“[Coffee’s] got a high oil content, 20 percent oil by weight in the waste coffee grounds, so it’s a really great thing to make biodiesel out of,” Arthur Kay, founder of Bio-bean told Independent.

How is the company sourcing this waste? By working with thousands of coffee shops across the UK to collect waste grounds — though no number has been released on how much fuel the transporting of these grounds will use.

It seems unlikely that Bio-bean will make its way to Cape Town. Not only is the city promising all-electric buses by 2025, but Bio-bean is currently only looking to expand to areas near instant coffee factories.

Nestle has but one South African coffee factory in a town two hours outside of Durban.

Feature image: David Holt via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0, resized)

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