A high octane muscle car it’s not, but it just might be the most powerful use of recycled coffee grounds ever. We’ve seen, if not smelled, the vegetable oil-fueled car, and now comes a coffee-fueled design. Called the Expresso car, it’s in the design-tweaking hands of a team from England. Having just run a trial, it is now being improved for a major record-breaking attempt on September 14. Will Roberts reported on Expresso’s trial run of Wednesday, August 10. Slow to start, it finally took off in a cloud of smoke, trailing behind it the aroma of roast coffee. After some more tweaking, the gassifier kicked in. Slowly the speed climbed from 25 mph to reach a high or 61mph. Not to get technical, but basically the Expresso burns recycled coffee grounds which produce a gas by the gassifier. This gas is enough to run the engine. Gassifers have been around awhile, as they were formerly used to power engines by turning wood into a gas. The Expresso is the highest expression yet of the gassifier, as its design has enclosed the gas furnace and actually looks quite good on the outside. The inside has been stripped to lighten the weight to increase speed. The downside of the coffee-fueled gassifier is that it burns quickly through the coffee grounds and constantly needs its caffeine. Next month on September 14, the Expresso will face its greatest challenge so far, as it attempts an official record. The goal is to reach 80 mph. The team’s manager, Martin Bacon, hopes to stimulate others to work on improving the gassifier. He says, “People are addicted to fossil fuels and I do not think this car is particularly the future, but to show that we can put some old used waste coffee granules in the back and, all of a sudden, the car is running with just a little bit of tinkering.” The team is looking for a sponsor. To inquire, and to see videos and read more about Expresso, go to coffeecar.org. See what a few spent coffee grounds can do. And remember, in case you’re tempted to chuckle: they probably laughed at Henry Ford too.
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