Sustainable solid fuel made from recycled coffee grounds

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GRESHAM House Renewable Energy VCTs has invested £1.2 million into bio-bean, the world’s largest recycler of waste coffee grounds.

The bio-bean investment represents 30% of the £4 million funding round announced by bio-bean in April 2019.

The Gresham House VCTs’ investment forms the final part of that round, and values bio-bean at £7.6 million.

Bozkurt Aydinoglu, Investment Director at Gresham House and co-manager of the VCTs stated: “bio-bean has a unique proposition and hard asset backing, meaning it fits very well within our existing sustainable investment portfolio.

“We look forward to seeing the fruits of the team’s labours as they build scale and diversify their product portfolio.”

In the UK our coffee drinking habit and the production of instant coffee generate an estimated 500,000 tonnes of spent coffee grounds each year.

Typically, spent coffee grounds are discarded with general waste and sent to landfill where they degrade and emit methane.

Bio-bean diverts spent coffee grounds away from landfill or other inefficient disposal methods and recycle them into new sustainable products.

One such product is solid biomass fuel for consumer use called Coffee Logs.

The process of diverting and recycling waste grounds into eco-friendly fire logs saves 80% of the CO2e emissions versus the grounds being sent to landfill and 70% if they were sent to anaerobic digestion.

By recycling waste coffee grounds into Coffee Logs, not only does this save on emissions but harnesses the untapped energy contained in the grounds to give them a second life as a useful product.

Spent coffee grounds have a naturally high oil content and therefore a high calorific value, making them an ideal energy source.

Before compressing the waste grounds into compact logs, the grounds go through an engineered drying process that allows them to ensure the moisture content of each log is around 10%, the perfect moisture for burning.

This, in combination with the naturally high calorific value, allows Coffee Logs to burn 20% hotter and longer than kiln-dried wood.

They burn, on average, for an hour depending on the appliance efficiency and its airflow control.

Coffee Logs are compact and designed for use in domestic enclosed appliances, such as wood-burners and multi-fuel stoves.

Each log is made from the grounds of around 25 cups of coffee, which are received from a wide range of businesses across the country, from independent coffee shops, high-street chains and office blocks, to railway stations and most recently London Stansted airport.

The investment from Gresham House will also help bio-bean, which is currently UK-based, to apply its model for recycling waste coffee grounds into mainland Europe, working in co-ordination with various international partners within bio-bean’s value chain.