Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coffee: Regular, Unleaded, or BioDiesel?

Saw a post today on LowImpactLiving.com about a November 2008 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Chemists have proven what every coffee addict knows: Those beloved little beans are powerful. But it's more than just the caffeine--coffee contains abundant natural oils and antioxidants. Combine those qualities with the fact the coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil and it becomes clear: Coffee is uniquely qualified to start our mornings AND our motorized vehicles.

More on what makes coffee such excellent fodder for biodiesel fuel from ArsTechnica.com:

"Spent coffee grounds are about 15 percent oil, which is only slightly less than many of the other biodiesel feedstocks. Since the world produces over 16 billion pounds of coffee per year, there is a constant and cheap supply of solid coffee waste. Kondamudi, Mohapatra, and Misra [the researchers] also predict that biodiesel from coffee grounds would be more stable than those from other sources because coffee contains antioxidants that would slow down degradation."

The researchers found that biodiesel derived from the coffee grounds (100% conversion of oil to biodiesel) was found to be stable for more than 1 month under ambient conditions. What's the bottom line?

340 million gallons of biodiesel can be produced from the waste coffee grounds around the world. In the US alone, if spent grounds were converted into biodiesel and fuel pellets in the U.S., the scientists project that it would be possible to make about $8 million in profit per year.

Drink up! And save your grounds--they may just be the new black gold.

--scReaMing mOnkEy