Cars Powered by Coffee Grounds Could Be in Your Future

Research team at University of Cincinnati figuring out to make diesel fuel out of coffee grounds
WikiMedia Commons

Coffee grounds like these could be used to power your car!

Just call them the mocha MacGyvers. A research team at the University of Cincinnati is working on a way to make discarded coffee grounds into a carbon-like material so that it can imitate diesel fuel, and hopefully will eventually power cars, lessening our dependency on fossil fuels and oil. The technology,  Professor Mingming Lu, who is heading the research team told The Daily Meal, is still five years away, but they remain hopeful.

So far the team has done tests and has found that coffee grounds, and other oils that usually get thrown away, like cooking grease, have similar properties to carbon, which could be harnessed to create fuel. If all goes well, 1,000,000 tons of discarded coffee grounds could be turned into fuel. But Professor Lu said that she will need the public’s help on this.


“We’re thinking that in order to use coffee grounds for the beneficial we need the public support,” said Lu. “You can’t just throw away coffee grounds it has to be recycled separately. The success of this research depends on how much people are willing to change their recycling habits.”