Since we opened the shop in Greenfield, Daryl and I have joked about expanding beyond just auto mechanics... like maybe having a movie projector and hosting weekly films? or doing art openings? or brewing coffee?
One new reason we can love the coffee idea: The American Chemical Society's article last month espousing spent coffee grounds as an untapped source for biofuels.
Turns out all those antioxidants could make for very efficient combustion. And just think of the aromas! With a tired old year behind us and a new calendar ahead, we do like the idea of America's favorite imported beverage serving one more use before it hits the compost.
In the new study, Mano Misra, Susanta Mohapatra, and Narasimharao Kondamudi note that the major barrier to wider use of biodiesel fuel is lack of a low-cost, high quality source, or feedstock, for producing that new energy source. Spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20 percent oil by weight. That’s about as much as traditional biodiesel feedstocks such as rapeseed, palm, and soybean oil.
Growers produce more than 16 billion pounds of coffee around the world each year. The used or “spent” grounds remaining from production of espresso, cappuccino, and plain old-fashioned cups of java, often wind up in the trash or find use as soil conditioner. The scientists estimated, however, that spent coffee grounds can potentially add 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply.