Java, Joe, Go Juice, Morning Mojo… Whatever you call it, coffee is the stuff that millions of people worldwide rely on to kickstart their day and keep it buzzing along. But coffee can fuel more than your body & brain — soon it could help rev your car too!
From Spent Coffee Grounds as a Versatile Source of Green Energy in the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, researchers at the University of Nevada revealed that they’ve found a simple means of extracting oil from waste coffee grounds to create a cheap, abundant, & very environmentally-friendly source of biodiesel.
Although many different types of oils can be used to make biodiesel (including soybean, rapeseed, mustard, flax, sunflower, & palm oils) spent coffee grounds contain up to 20% of oil by weight, which is a comparable and sometimes higher yield than other feedstock. Coffee-based fuel was found to be more stable than other biodiesels due to high antioxidant content and after oil extraction, the leftover grounds can still be converted to ethanol or used as garden compost. It’s projected that 340 million gallons of biodiesel fuel can be extracted from the used grounds of the more than 16 billion pounds of coffee that’s produced globally per year.
I especially like how this closes the lifecycle loop on coffee beans: First they’re used for brewing coffee; next as a source of oil for fuel; and finally as an organic fertilizer — which, in theory, could be used in growing more beans!
As if all that weren’t enough, this fuel reportedly even smells like… brewed coffee! So enjoy that latté — it may actually be good for the planet!
Ever wonder where the expression "cup of Joe" came from? After Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels banned alcoholic beverages on bases & aboard ships in July 1914, disgruntled sailors began calling coffee (their next best substitute for booze) by the sarcastic nickname “Joe.”