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London Buses To Run On Mix Of Coffee Oil Waste

During the Cleaner Planet Convention (CPC) organised in Amsterdam last year, the impact of digital transformation in the waste industry was the bottom line. Artificial Intelligence and automation and big data are playing increasingly important roles in most industries and waste is no exception. 

Using data and connected devices to optimise waste collection and its end usage has become the new buzzword. Coupled with this the Internet of Things is helping cities improve everything from traffic data, weather, and parking, to water usage and waste management.

Sensing the increasing role of technology and need to reduce the carbon footprints in the use of energy, oil giant  Shell in collaboration with technology company Bio-Bean has launched an initiative power some of London’s local transport buses using a biofuel made from waste coffee grounds.

Interestingly, as a part of its commitment to reduce the dependence on crude oil and increase the use of biofuel and reduce CO2 emissions, India had encouraged use of ethanol mix in petrol from 2003 onwards. “It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource. We’ve started in the UK, but imagine the potential of a country like India that drinks more than 13 billion cups of coffee a year. By rethinking our approach to waste, we can create smarter global cities and a brighter future for everyone,” says Bio-Bean Founder Arthur Kay.

In case of London, the B20 biofuel contains a 20 percent bio-component which contains part coffee oil. This coffee oil is added to the London bus fuel supply chain to help power some of the buses, without need for modification. Biofuel provides a cleaner, more sustainable energy solution for buses across London’s network by decreasing emissions. 

“Our Coffee Logs have already become the fuel of choice for households looking for a high-performance, sustainable way to heat their homes – and now, with the support of Shell, bio-bean and Argent Energy have created thousands of litres of coffee-derived B20 biodiesel which will help power London buses for the first time.” said Bio-Bean’s founder Arthur Kay.

The average Londoner drinks 2.3 cups of coffee a day which produces over 200,000 tonnes of waste a year, much of which would otherwise end in landfill with the potential to emit 126million kg of CO2. bio-bean works to collect some of these waste coffee grounds from high street chains and factories.  

Bio-Bean works with its fuel partner Argent Energy to process this oil into a blended B20 biofuel. 6,000 litres of coffee oil has been produced, which if used as a pure-blend for the bio component and mixed with mineral diesel to form a B20, could help power the equivalent of one London bus for a year. 

This latest collaboration is part of Shell’s #makethefuture energy relay, which supports entrepreneurs turning bright energy innovations into a positive impact for communities around the world. In fact, Shell has diversified its portfolio last year itself making renewable energy as one of the big focus of its future expansion plans and vision.

Sinead Lynch, Shell UK Country Chair, said: “When it comes to clean energy, we are always looking for the next inventive solution.  A good idea can come from anywhere, but with the scale and commitment of Shell, we can help enable true progress.  We’re pleased to be able to support bio-bean to trial this innovative new energy solution which can help to power buses, keeping Londoners moving around the city – powered in part by their waste coffee grounds.”

In India, the use of ethanol has been encouraged by the government from time to time and in its latest thrust to push usage of this fuel, the Narendra Modi  Government raised the price of sugarcane-extracted ethanol used for blending in petrol by around Rs. 2 per litre to Rs 40.85 from next month onwards.

The approval will facilitate the continued policy of the government in providing price stability and remunerative prices for ethanol suppliers. It will also help in reducing dependency on crude oil imports, saving in foreign exchange and benefits to the environment. t is estimated that for ethanol supply year 2016-17, about 65 crore litres of ethanol will be procured.

Doping petrol with 5 percent ethanol was launched in 2003 to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels and also cut import dependence. However, since 2006, oil firms were not able to receive offers for the required quantity of ethanol against the tenders floated by them due to various constraints like state specific issues, supplier related issues, including pricing of ethanol.

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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