London buses to be powered by coffee grounds

London's love for coffee could help power a third of the capital's bus network.

franckreporter via Getty Images

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce pollution in the capital, London's buses are set to utilise a new source of fuel: coffee grounds. Thanks to a collaboration between Bio-Bean, Shell and Argent Energy, double deckers will be filled with a B20 biofuel created by blending oil extracted from coffee waste with diesel. So far, they've produced enough to power one London bus for a year, but as Londoners drink 20 million cups of coffee a day, it could provide enough oil to power a third of Transport for London's entire network.

Bio-Bean's plant can recycle 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee a year. The company collects waste from high street coffee shops, as well as instant coffee factories, and uses it to extract an oil. This is then mixed with other fats and oils to create a 20 percent biocomponent of B20 fuel. Buses don't need to be modified either, keeping costs low.

Fuels like Bio-Bean will provide a greener alternative as London continues to introduce greener methods of transport. Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that from 2018, all new single-decker buses in the centre of the city will be zero-emission, helped by a sizeable fleet of hybrid electric buses. However, the end goal is to have a zero-emission transport system by 2050.