If scientists can get the technology just right, coffee will be giving us a lot of gas, and we’ll love it. That’s syngas we’re talking about, aka synthetic gas, and it will hopefully contribute to the process of turning coffee waste to renewable fuel, as is done with other wastes. According to Waste Management World, the research is ongoing.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of Keurig K-Cups, is the company whose wastes are being used in the gasification experimentation. Energy specialists want to turn the coffee roasting waste, which includes coffee residues, plastic packaging, paper, clothe/burlap, and plastic cups, into heat and power. The same company used by NASA to turn space station waste into fuel is conducting the research. They’ve been successful in turning railroad tie chips, turkey litter, and forest residues into the syngas and then into electricity, so coffee waste should be appropriate for the same process. The roaster can then use the energy produced to run the equipment and turn out more waste, as well as excellent coffee.
Besides electricity, the syngas can be used to create chemicals or biofuels. It doesn’t get much more perfect than this. The coffee is roasted and enjoyed by coffee lovers, not only for the flavorful aspects but also for the energy it provides. Then the wastes from that roasting become a source of energy of a different kind. Talk about renewable energy – and it’s also being “fine-tuned to meet the highest possible environmental standards”. We’ve previously learned that coffee wastes can fuel a gassifier that runs a car and as bioethanol in Colombia.
Our favorite beverage is turning out to be not only healthy for our bodies, but healthy for the planet as well. Brew on in good health.