London’s waste coffee beans to power 15,000 homes

Fifteen thousand homes across London will be heated by waste coffee beans from local baristas under a new capital-wide scheme to get London to embrace the green economy.

The scheme was developed by biofuel company Bio-bean which specialises in turning waste coffee into energy. It became a reality after the company won the Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award back in 2012.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The roaring success of previous winners like Bio-bean demonstrates the huge market for green technology ideas. They’ve done the hard grind and Londoners can now enjoy their daily coffee fix in the safe knowledge that as well as their own caffeine kick the energy levels of as many as 15,000 homes are being boosted.”

Bio-bean is the first company in the world to industrialise the process of waste coffee recycling into biofuel production. Their factory has the capacity to process 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year to create enough power to heat 15,000 homes. Each tonne recycled through bio-bean’s process saves up to 6.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The organisation has previously worked with Network Rail at London’s Victoria and Waterloo stations among others to generate over 650 tonnes of biofuel.

Bio-bean chief executive Arthur Kay said: “The first ever Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award gave me (and bio-bean) a great start. The London collection service marks a milestone in our UK development, as we collect waste coffee grounds at every scale, saving money on waste disposal fees and creating sustainability advantages for each of our clients.”

The city-wide launch coincides with the 2016 Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award, which encourages people and businesses to submit their sustainable ideas with a top prize of £20,000.

Green city

The announcement comes in the same week that the London Assembly has called on Johnson to assemble an “urgent Government meeting” to discuss national green policies, describing the Summer Budget as a “retrograde”.

The value of the green industry to the city is already as much as £30bn a year and it employs 160,000 people, yet the Summer Budget modified a number of key policies including the Zero Carbon Homes commitment and the Climate Change Levy, which could result in renewable electricity being subject to a carbon tax.

Murad Qureshi, who proposed the motion, said: “With London’s global city status at stake, it’s time for the Government to show a willingness to lead the charge against the big environmental challenges. Removing incentives for, or indeed penalising, those wishing to reduce their own carbon footprint is simply not the way to go about it.”

It is the second time in three months that the London Assembly has addressed the Mayor on his green ambitions, after calling on Johnson accelerate his air quality programs to comply with EU and UK laws in July.

Matt Mace

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