Saturday, December 13, 2008


Researchers in Nevada have calculated that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340m gallons of biodiesel to the world's fuel supply.

Spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20% oil by weight, which is about as much as traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, palm, and soybean oil. Coffee-based fuel - which apparently smells like java - has a major advantage in being more stable than traditional biodiesel, due to coffee's high antioxidant content. The solids left over from the conversion can themselves be turned into ethanol or used as compost.

You might think here at last is a way for Guatemala to reduce its energy dependency, but then again, you might be wrong. Most of this country's high-grade coffee is exported, leaving the locals to drink a weak, highly sugared agua de calcetín made from grubby little granules. Still, Antigua has a growing number of espresso bars and our new mayor seems committed to biodiesel. It would certainly be more fun to stand behind the exhaust pipe of a departing chicken bus powered this way...

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