Starting Monday, November 20, the engines of London's iconic red buses are to run on a special biofuel mix made partially from old coffee grounds. The brainchild of British start-up Bio-Bean, in financial collaboration with petrol giant Shell, the greener fuel is composed of 80% ordinary diesel and 20% oil extracted from coffee waste.
While London buses are already fuelled in part from waste products, such as cooking oil, this is the first time that coffee has entered the equation. Bio-Bean initially aimed to create a cheap, renewable power source for homes but have now set their eyes on the transport sector. As Bio-Bean founder Arthur Kay explained of the move:
"It's a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource."
Carbon emissions set to drop by 10–15 %
As the Independent explains, the start-up collects discarded coffee grounds from bars and restaurants across the capital, including Costa and Caffe Nero, before transforming it into oil and mixing it with diesel at a factory in Cambridge.
A win-win situation, this allows companies to get rid of their waste for free while creating a powerful biofuel that's set to reduce CO2 levels across London.
According to Bio-Bean, the coffee-injected fuel could allow carbon emissions from buses to drop by as much as 10% to 15%, without the vehicles having to change their engines. The company hopes to extend the initiative to black taxis in the near future. So sip up, London.