Shell collaborates on biofuel to help power London buses

Jon Howard
November 21, 2017

A new biofuel, which contains coffee oil, is being added to the London bus fuel supply chain.

According to Engadget, Londoners drink around 20 million cups of coffee a day.

Meanwhile, the companies said in a press release, "Shell and bio-bean announce that together they are helping to power some of London's buses using a biofuel made partly from waste coffee grounds". Bio-bean estimates that 2.55 million cups of coffee is all that's needed to fuel a single London bus for a year on B20 biofuel and that means if just over one million of London's near 9 million population drank their average 2.3 cups of coffee a day, a single bus could run on cleaner fuel for a year.

In a first, waste coffee grounds will be used to make biofuels to power some of London's buses from today, according to a media report. The company then worked with its fuel partner Argent Energy to process this oil into a blended biofuel. Founder Arthur Kay said it was a "great example of what can be done when we start to reimagine waste as an untapped resource".

We have started in the United Kingdom, but imagine the potential of a country like South Africa, that drinks more than three-billion cups of coffee a year.

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Bio-bean has worked with Shell since winning the LiveWIRE Innovation Award in 2013. Six-thousand litres of coffee oil have been produced so far.

The company has produced 6,000 liters of coffee oil for the pilot project with London's transportation authority - enough to help power the equivalent of one city bus for a year.

Given the tiny proportion of coffee-based oil in the bus fuel, there was no immediate, empirical indication that the noisome whiff of central London's air would turn into the alluring aroma of, say, a Roman cafe, or even a Starbucks.

Sinead Lynch, Shell UK country chair, said the company is always looking for the next inventive solution.

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