“We succeeded to be really successful with our innovations [because] we managed to scale, “says Bio-bean Director and Commercial General Manager George May.” Other people can recycle one or 10 tons of coffee. We have realized more than 20,000 tons of recycling in our lives. ”
Bio-bean has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but its activities continue. While coffee outlets in the UK have been temporarily closed due to coronavirus restrictions, Bio-bean said it can still pick up soil from various recycling partners, but in lower volumes than usual.
Coffee as fuel
At the company’s Cambridgeshire facility, the used coffee grounds are decontaminated to remove paper cups or plastic bags, and then through a dryer and further screening. Finally, they are processed into products such as biomass pellets and home fire logs.
The company also produces a natural flavor extract in a separate process from ground coffee particles.
Pellets can be used to power industrial boilers, heat commercial greenhouses or dry cereal products, while coffee logs can be used on wood stoves.
“Coffee is extremely calorific and makes itself a really cool fuel,” says May. “They burn about 20% warmer and 20% longer than wooden logs.”
Jenny Jones, a professor of sustainable energy at the University of Leeds, says recycled coffee grounds have potential as fuel, but must be compared to alternatives to deal with coffee-ground waste such as incineration and assessment of total carbon savings. or mulching for plants.
Jones also says that ground coffee particles, like most biomass residues, are higher in sulfur and nitrogen than most wood emitting harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides when burned.
Despite being postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, Bio-bean said it plans to expand its operation to northwest Europe in the next five years.
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