London Buses to Run On Coffee!

Automologist ATHERTON loves coffee just slightly less than he loves cars. Now, his two loves are coming together in the most fantastic way… 

London’s iconic red doubledecker buses will be soon powered by coffee. Yes, coffee. Actually, they will run on biofuel that is partially made from waste coffee grounds, to be exact. I loooooove coffee and so do many of my office-mates. You’d know by the number of times the coffee machine gives up due to our insatiable thirst for this wonderful refreshment.

Bio-bean Ltd, a London-based company, will partner with oil giant Royal Dutch Shell in this initiative, which will produce 6,000 litres of this fuel that can power one bus for a year. Costa Coffee Ltd, Caffe Nero and thousands of other coffee shops have partnered with Bio-bean to donate used grounds.

“It’s got a high oil content, 20 percent oil by weight in the waste coffee grounds, so it’s a really great thing to make biodiesel out of,” said founder Arthur Kay. Bio-bean is the first company in the world to industrialise the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels and biochemicals.

Arthur Kay, 27, founder of Bio-bean.

Once these grounds are collected, it will be converted into biofuel and blended with ordinary diesel, with a 20 percent bio component. This process will take place in the company’s 20,000 square foot production plant in Cambridgeshire, which will be then shipped to a central tank where buses refuel.

The UK produces 500,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds every year, most of which is disposed of via landfill where it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide!

“We’re basically looking for places where they drink a huge amount of coffee,” Kay said. “Our primary expansion plans are based around where there are instant coffee factories.”

Founded in 2013, Bio-bean has received funding from the U.K. government, Shell and private investors. It is planning to expand throughout the U.K. and eventually to continental Europe and the U.S.

“It’s a great example of what can be done when we start to re-imagine waste as an untapped source,” said Kay.

Watch the vid to understand how this process works:

According to an article by, data derived in 2013 by indicates that we Malaysians consume 1.3kg of coffee per capita (per person on average). It will be great if we in Malaysia can turn the waste from our love of kopi tarik into a reusable product.

Image credit – Roger Harris/Bio-bean
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