From Cup To Car

Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Coffee gets us started every morning.  Now it gets your car started too.

With help from Shell Oil Company, bio-bean, a company that has been collecting London’s 220,000 tons of annually spent coffee grounds, put their new biofuel into the gas tanks of London’s famous double decker buses.  By partnering with large coffee shops like Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero, a steady stream of grounds will produce enough fuel to power a city bus for a year.

On the American front, Mano Misra’s , Susanta Mohapatra’s, and Narasimharao Kondamudi’s study has been published online in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.  Written by Mark T.Sampson, they report that waste coffee grounds provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel.  They found that spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20 percent oil by weight, which could add an estimated 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply.

In 2016, about 143.22 billion gallons of finished motor gasoline (a complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons with or without small quantities of additives, blended to form a fuel suitable for use in spark-ignition engines) were consumed in the United States.

The new “B20” coffee-based fuel smells like java and has the major advantage of being more stable than traditional biodiesel; due to coffee’s high antioxidant content.  Solids left over from the conversion can be converted to ethanol or used as compost.  The biofuel is 20% coffee oil, while the rest of the mix comes from fossil diesel.

Biofuels burn cleaner than fossil fuels, releasing less carbon into the atmosphere, but the production and harvesting of plants destined for fuel (like corn, wheat and sugarcane) can cancel out the benefits.  Using waste products—like coffee grounds—to create fuel minimizes damage to the environment on the production end, and reduces overloading of landfill.

Through a partnership with Argent Energy, many households in the UK have begun to use this in their homes.  This is a technology I want to hear more about.

Put Put Put Off You Go

Until next time,

Garbage Girl


70 Years Of Clean Air And Water Wasted


Mr. John D. Rockefeller made a fortune from our love of mobility and the freedom it represents.  As a young professional, he recognized the power of oil to fuel transportation and America went wild!

Mr. Henry Ford, a farmer, designed the first assembly line automobile.  It ran on  alcohol.  His fuel was made anywhere, anytime, by anybody, out of anything that is or was a plant.

So, Mr. Rockefeller got his buddies together to formulate and pass Prohibition Legislation banning the transportation of all alcohol.  In the meantime, Mr. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly was split into 34 companies.  All 34 were in his stock portfolio.   America’s love for freedom was turning into an oil guzzling addiction that could no longer be supplied by choice.

Trolleys were everywhere.  Anyone could ride them anywhere. They ran on electricity.  It was possible to travel from San Francisco to New York City by transferring from trolley to trolley.

What happened to those trolleys?   I guess Mr. Rockefeller needed some more money.  Standard Oil, Mack Truck, General Motors, Phillips Petroleum and Firestone created a company that bought them all up and trashed them.  The replacement option?  Fuel guzzling buses.

Even though the Federal Government indicted all five companies for their part in the conspiracy, they started the largest public works project ever.  It was based on oil;  highways, suburbs, shopping malls, and the beginning of a consumer society that uses oil for fuel, clothing, food, medicine, lubricants, plastics, furniture and construction materials.

Freedom?  Well, that was based on cheap oil and loads of it! Limitless supply?  Ummm,  China now has more cars than we do. Cheap?  OPEC acting as a cartel ended that idea in the 1970s. Choice?  Hmmm, there doesn’t seem to be one.

Until you see the movie, Pump.  It will change your mind about our fossil fuel addicted future.

Natural gas may be here to stay.  Unfortunately, though, we can’t keep up with our own demand and its controversial extraction process is leaching into some of our water.   Natural gas is a shale oil or methane gas commonly associated with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses water pressure to fracture shale and release the oil or gas.  We produce about 10 million barrels a day, we use about 18 million barrels a day and the world uses 88 million barrels a day.   US-shaleWe are running as fast as we can to stay in one place so it isn’t saving us any money at the pump.   Areas the size of states, like the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, are being shattered to bits.

But it gets better!  Alcohol has always been the better fuel and anyone can make it.  Beets, sorghum, buffalo gourds, corn, prickly pear and the alcohol producing giant…cattail flowers make it possible to produce fuel wherever you live.   Are you worried about food prices and supplies?  Don’t be, ethanol is the other byproduct of feed corn for animals.  You get more feed AND more fuel.  The same guys who want you to buy oil let you believe food prices rose because of ethanol production when food prices always rise after oil prices go up.

And it gets even better still!  Methanol is the cleanest burning, simplest, most abundant alcohol.  It can even be made on Mars and it isn’t as flammable as gasoline so race car drivers have been using it for decades.  Oak Ridge National Labs estimates that we have 1 billion tons of biomass for methanol available to use every year.  That includes 240 million tons of trash of which 160 of it currently goes to landfills.  Iceland is making it out of CO2 and Hydrogen.   For more on the Methanol Economy read  written in 2006!

Then there is electricity.  It can be made from wind and solar energy.  Nikola Tesla set out to convince us that we can have cars, clean air AND clean water.  By partnering with solar giant, John Paul Mitchell and Tesla owner, Elon Musk, along with many others, they are developing the infrastructure to produce and run affordable, luxurious, electric cars.  Even Roland Hwang, Director of the Energy & Transportation Program of the NRDC is excitedly reporting the vast improvement of lithium ion batteries because of electronics.

So what’s stopping us?  Back to those oil guys.  Our companies and our government mask our choices.  Cars that run on methanol, ethanol and gasoline have been around since Ford offered them in 1994.  Most people don’t even know they have a Flex Car.  If your gas cap is yellow, your car can be fueled by any combination of fuel.  To find out if your car can use other fuels go to Fuel Freedom Foundation’s website.

Even if you don’t own a Flex Car, the changes required to make it one are as simple as a piece of software that you install yourself.  Kits are easily available,  just google flex fuel kits.  But, the EPA considers it tampering with your car’s computer so its important to educate yourself thoroughly.  For installation and emotional support click

Alternative fuel stations can be located on line or you can go to

How You Can Help:

  • Imagine everything we throw away becoming biomass for fuel!  That means animal waste, construction waste, yard waste, food and agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, sewage, EVERYTHING that is or was a plant!
  • Support and form communities to get our paid representatives to stop eliminating our choices at the pump.
  • Consider installing a flex fuel kit on your engine.
  • Support local biomass collection and alcohol production.  Make some moonshine!
  • Let’s stop polluting our home.

Until next week,images-9Garbage Girl