May 17, 2020

Coffee to make Ethanol Biofuel

coffee
Biofuel
Ethanol
Colombia
Admin
2 min
Colombian coffee growers are researching a new way to make biofuel using coffee waste
Colombia is definitely one of the first countries that come to mind when thinking bout coffee. Brewed coffee is a staple in the diets of people all ov...

 

Colombia is definitely one of the first countries that come to mind when thinking bout coffee.  Brewed coffee is a staple in the diets of people all over the world, providing a high caffeine fuel to propel drinkers into their workday.  But what about using coffee as vehicle fuel?  That’s exactly what Colombian coffee growers are researching, working to bring added revenues to the coffee value chain with the production of coffee-derived ethanol biofuel.

In the coffee production process, a waste byproduct is created when washing the beans called “mucilage.”  Traditionally, Colombian coffee growers have allowed mucilage waste to enter the country’s river systems, but this has led to contamination issues.  It also hurts the growers who are required to pay fines for dumping mucilage into the rivers.  As a means by which to reduce this pollution while also adding profit to the coffee growers’ operations, ethanol is being produced from mucilage waste.

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Currently, tests are utilizing a micro-plant, which is a scaled-down version of a traditional ethanol plant.  The test plant produces 800 to 1,000 liters of ethanol per day from the mucilage waste collected from 450 square meters of coffee growing land. 

The byproduct of the mucilage-to-ethanol conversion process can also be turned into fertilizer, thus reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.  Essentially, coffee plantations in Colombia may have discovered a way to drastically improve their environmental footprint while adding value to their operations.  These are the kinds of small steps that can completely change an entire sector for the better. 

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Jul 30, 2021

Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector

marineenergy
renewableenergy
tidalturbine
Sustainability
3 min
The UK’s nascent marine energy sector starts exporting electricity to the grid as the most powerful tidal turbine in the world begins to generate power

Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre

At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable. 

How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?

Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.” 

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement. 

The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.

“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government. 

“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”

However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future. 

We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.” 

The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours

This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly

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