Coffee, the New Biofuel

Coffee may be your own personal fuel, but Arthur Kay is working on making coffee a viable biofuel.

Kay was in the process of designing a coffee shop and roaster when he noticed that “coffee was being wasted everywhere. It was pouring out of coffee shops, office blocks, transport hubs and factories.” He knew there had to be a use for this discarded coffee, especially when he considered the high oil content in used coffee grounds.

And now Kay has created bio-bean, a company that has partnered with several coffee chain companies to collect London’s 200,000 tons of wasted coffee grounds. He then converts the grounds into biomass pellets that can be used for heating buildings. He’s in the process of helping coffee oil become a viable biodiesel, which could then power our modes of transport.


“Every building needs heat, every engine needs fuel. Bio-bean is a truly scalable solution and could be adapted to every city (provided they drink coffee) plus both coffee and biofuel markets are expanding rapidly,” Kay explained.

Additional research has found that the 10 kg of coffee grounds produced from small coffee shops can produce 2 liters of biofuel.


“We want to see waste coffee grounds (and, over time, other waste streams) disposed of in the most transparent, sustainable and valuable way possible.” Kay said. “We are building a stamp that certifies responsible disposal of waste coffee grounds and of course our model works best when we sell our biofuels back to coffee waste producers, creating a circular economy.”

How cool would that be, if the coffee that fuels you could also fuel your car? Heat your home? And help us cut our reliance upon fossil fuels? We all can raise a mug to that.

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