While electric vehicles are getting a lot of love, London’s double-decker buses are going more alternative. Indeed, the city has been testing a new prototype boiofuel made of coffee.
The new coffee-centric biofuel is the creation of U.K.-based startup bio-bean, which collects used coffee grounds from local businesses, universities, and instant coffee producers, extracts oil from the grounds, and blends it with other fats and oils to create “B20” biofuel.
This biofuel is further combined with traditional mineral diesel before filling up a tank of a double-decker. The company has already produced more than 1,500 gallons of coffee-based fuel—enough to power a city bus for an entire year.
The biofuel comes with a few key advantages over typical diesel, namely a 10-15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, as well as the elimination of methane release that would have occurred if the grounds had been left to rot in landfills. The fuel also doesn’t require any alterations to existing buses.
Bio-bean is currently able to process 50,000 tons of recycled coffee grounds a year, but hopes to scale up production. The U.K. produces enough used coffee grounds to power a third of its transportation network—nearly 500,000 tons of grounds.