Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

Turning Trash Into Gold: Here’s How Coffee Wastes Can Become The Future Of Energy

May 12, 2017 05:02 AM EDT

Coffee: From Bean to Brew | Mike Cooper
(Photo : Jamie Oliver's Drinks Tube/Youtube)

For millions of people, a cup of coffee in the morning is a good way to start the day as it provides a major boost to the body for a long and tiring day. But aside from fueling millions of people every morning, the popular beverage also has a potential to help the environment. Researchers from the Lancaster University have found out how coffee wastes can become the future of energy by turning them into useful, cheaper and environment-friendly biofuels.

Commonly, purpose-grown feedstocks are utilized in the extraction of oils to produce biodiesels but this process is known to be costly in terms of expenses and its requirements for the use of resources such as water and land. To get rid of these costs, experts shifted to spent coffee grounds to show how these coffee wastes can become the future of energy. Based on The Guardian, coffee has its high calorific value that is why it is convertible into an energy source.

With a large volume of spent coffee ground being dumped yearly, the team from the Lancaster University expanded its efficiency as a source of energy. According to Phys.Org, researchers reduced the process into just one stage called the transesterification, which involves extracting the oils from spent coffee grounds and converting them into useable biodiesel. As nine million tons of spent ground coffee was thrown in 2014 and the number continues to grow as of now, more biodiesel can be produced and can prove how coffee wastes can become the future of energy.

Through this process, the spent coffee grounds are mixed to hexane at a 60 degrees Celsius for less than two hours to extract the oil content. But researchers removed hexane and made use of just methanol and catalyst to avoid chemical waste and save time as the process took them just 10 minutes to achieve enough oil yields. Coffee wastes can become the future of energy as up to 720,000 tons of biodiesel can be produced per year using this process.

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