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Coffee waste could be turned into electricity

Copyright free (Unsplash, Tina Guina/Creative Commons CC0)

Researchers at the University of Surrey used funding from BBSRC and EPSRC to create a microbial fuel cell that converts environmentally-damaging waste from coffee production into electricity. Microbes inside the fuel cell degrade the organic matter in the waste, breaking it down while also generating electrical power.

Data breakout

9.5bn kg Coffee produced annually worldwide
840M kg Coffee produced in Colombia in 2017
2kg Liquid waste generated in producing 1kg of instant coffee
140L Water needed to produce a cup of coffee

A cooperative of coffee farmers in Colombia, the world’s third largest coffee producer, are interested in installing the fuel cells on their farms. Because the devices are simple, inexpensive and made from readily-available household materials, they could easily be built and installed on the small, family-owned farms. This would prevent environmentally-damaging coffee waste from entering and contaminating local water courses.

Read the full impact evidence report:

Coffee waste could be turned into electricity (PDF 1.21MB)

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