News / World

Metro Cities: Coffee-based fuel introduced to London's bus fleet

Transit authorities in the British city recently announced a partnership with Bio-bean, an alternative fuel producer, to use a substance derived in part from used coffee grinds.

Photo illustration by Andres Plana

AFP / iStockphoto

Photo illustration by Andres Plana

Londoners now have something in common with their iconic red double decker buses: a penchant for a tall dark roast. Transit authorities in the British city recently announced a partnership with Bio-bean, an alternative fuel producer, to run some of its fleet on a substance derived in part from used coffee grinds.

Here’s the scoop:

More than 9,000 of the city’s buses rely on biofuels, extracted from sources like old cooking oil and animal fat from meat processing, according to the BBC.

Bio-bean collects used grinds from coffee shops and instant coffee factories and then extracts an oil from the waste, which it blends with diesel to create the fuel.

The buses don’t need to be modified to make use of the fuel.

Bio-bean estimates one bus would need to guzzle the oil derived from 2.55 million cups of coffee to operate for one year.

Bio-bean’s project will produce 1,583 gallons of fuel per year, according to the Independent.

The company estimates the U.K. produces 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds per year.

Researchers from the Royal Academy of Engineering recommend an increase focus on biofuels that utilize waste products, rather than the versions that rely on crop production (i.e. growing corn to make ethanol).

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