Could Coffee Be a Future Energy Source?

Coffee grounds may one day be running our cars and homes (according to engineers)

Environmental engineers from the University of Cincinnati say that coffee grounds could one day be running our cars and powering our homes.

We knew there were more uses for coffee, and specifially coffee grounds, than just for consuming. Now, environmental engineers from the University of Cincinnati say that coffee grounds could one day be running our cars and powering our homes.

Atlantic Cities reports on the efforts of the University of Cincinnati environmental engineers' latest experiment, where they extracted oil from used coffee grounds. That oil, once extracted from the grounds and filtered, can be converted into biodiesel that can be used as a clean energy source for cars, furnaces, and other energy sources. The magical ingredient in coffee grounds, shares RedOrbit? Triglycerides, which are converted into biodiesel and its byproduct, glycerin. 


Although there's still a lot more research and testing to be done on this new "coffee oil," everyone's excited about the possibilities. Biodisel is a cleaner energy source because it reduces the emission of carbon monoxide and other toxins, as compared to petroleum diesel, says RedOrbit. And right now, coffee is less in demand than other food sources being used for biodisel, like corn and soybeans. (Though, given the current coffee "rust" that's affecting farmers, that could change soon.) Extra bonus points: Reusing old coffee grounds you threw away is obviously good for the environment and helps clear space in landfills. "Waste coffee grounds that result from brewing one of the world's most popular beverages is estimated to result in more than 1 million tons per year in the U.S. alone, with the majority of that waste getting dumped into landfills," the University of Cincinnati said in a press release about the study. So you know, keep on grindin' those beans — they could end up being used for a very good cause.