It just may be possible one day! Back in 2008, Mano Misra, a professor of engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, was inspired to consider this possibility by a cup of coffee that sat overnight. The next day it was observed that a considerable amount of oil had formed a layer on top of the coffee.
Professor Misra led the research which initially involved acquiring and analysis of 50 lbs of used coffee grounds. The coffee grounds were obtained from several Starbuck’s stores. The teams research found that the coffee grounds contain 10 – 15% oil by weight. A chemical process was then used to convert the oil into biodiesel. They estimate this process could produce several hundred million gallons of this biodiesel with a production cost as little as $1 per gallon. This may seem like a lot but, it would only represent less than 1% of the diesel fuel used in the United States in one year.
Scientist at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom have also been hard at work researching the use of spent coffee grounds to make biodiesel. This year they reported experimenting with various coffee types from different countries around the world. They determined that varieties such as Robusta and Arabica are suitable for the production of fuel. They suggest that coffee chains could actually produce the fuel and use it to fuel their delivery vehicles. The same vehicle could then be used to collect the used coffee grounds and deliver them to processing facilities.
Wow, could you imagine a company like Starbucks or Green Mountain being talked about with companies like Exxon or BP? Could happen! So, every time you enjoy that cup of java or latte you could be actually contributing to the future production of cleaner "green" biodiesel fuel. Drink up!
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