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London Bus | © Javier/Flickr
London Bus | © Javier/Flickr

London's Buses Will Soon Be Powered by Coffee, Just Like Everyone Else

Picture of Lizzie Thomson
Updated: 21 November 2017

Coffee lovers rejoice – the rich smell of coffee could be replacing thick black fuel fumes on London’s busy roads.

Just as London commuters seek their daily caffeine hit, it has been revealed the city’s buses will soon also be relying on coffee to get them through the working day.

Waste coffee grounds are going to be used to power London’s iconic red buses in a bid to crack down emissions caused by the capital’s public transport system.

British startup bio-bean has partnered with oil giant Shell to develop an innovative coffee-based biofuel that will be used in London’s buses. The tech company collects coffee grounds from suppliers such as restaurants, cafés and shops and transports them to their very own recycling facility, where the coffee oil is extracted. This coffee oil can be blended with other fuels to create B20 biofuel.

The average Londoner consumes around 2–3 cups of coffee a day, which equates to around 200,000 tonnes of waste every year. Unwanted coffee grounds are often discarded in landfills and release harmful greenhouse gases. The new hybrid fuel will have dual benefits: tackling the problem of coffee waste and cutting down the city’s air pollution.

Bio-bean says it has already produced 6,000 litres of coffee oil for a pilot scheme, enough to power one London bus for an entire year.

The launch of the caffeine-orientated scheme will likely be welcomed by Sadiq Khan. The London Mayor has promised to tackle the city’s growing transport emissions and create cleaner air for its residents and visitors. Over the past couple of years, Transport for London has been looking into biofuels to help clean up the city’s roads.