Prices of fossil fuels, as well as efforts to protect the planet’s climate, lead scientists to research a variety of alternatives. One of them is the effort to change biological waste to energy. Coffee can be a very good source, suggests new british research.

British and Colombian scientists have discovered a new way to make electricity. It uses the waste that comes from processing the fruit of a coffee plant. Their discovery can help farmers and reduce pollution in the developing world, wrote The Guardian. Annual coffee production in the world is around 9.5 million tonnes.

When processing coffee berries, so-called coffee cherries, a huge amount of liquid waste is produced. Agricultural holdings pruduce waste water during the washing of coffee cherries and others in the production of instant coffee. Scientists have now been able not only to remove contaminants from the water but to use the whole process to produce electricity.

They have developed a fuel cell that uses microbes instead of chemicals and consumes little energy by consuming waste. “Farmers get some energy from the waste they throw away.  So the environment will be cleaner and their financial situation will improve,” said microbiologist at the University of Surrey, Claudio Avignon Ross.

Energy from waste

According to him, the type of microbe required we can commonly find in sludge from sewage treatment plants. We can also find it on Colombian farms. “The offer is not a problem,” he added.

Microbial fuel cells are large in size like those that are installed in cans with sparkling beverages. Now scientists are waiting for financial institutions to provide them with the means to build a prototype on the Colombian plantation.


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