Biobased Economy: using waste coffee grounds as solid fuel pellets

SUEZ, one of the main waste management companies, wants to make pellets out of waste coffee grounds. The pellets can be used for heating applications. In the long run, the company wants to use the heat produced by waste incineration to dry the grounds. Partners for Innovation conducted a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) quick-scan to assess the environmental impact.

Coffee grounds as a sustainable solution

Many companies are striving to implement sustainable solutions to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Examples are: better conservation, intelligent packaging design, optimal losgitics etc. Another solution is to reuse waste for something completely different. People in the Netherlands drink milions of cups of coffee every day. What if we could use the waste coffee grounds as solid fuel pellets?

Environmental benefit

Partners for Innovation show in their scan a benefit to our environment if coffee grounds are used for solid fuel pellets, in comparison to other processing methods. We looked at three different methods: waste incineration, fermentation and conversion into solid fuel pellets. Incinerating coffee grounds generates more electricity than fermentation. However, the emissions cause for a lower benefit to the environment. The conversion into solid fuel pellets scores substantially higher than conventional methods. The amount of heat produced contributes a great deal to this high score.

A LCA quick-scan

A LCA quick-scan assesses the main factors that influence the impact on the environment. With relatively little effort we are able to get a clear idea (80 tot 90%) of the sustainability of a product or process.

 

Contact:

Thomas Dietz  t.dietz@partnersforinnovation.com

Read more about Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) 

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