Burning Coffee fuel log from bio-bean ()Burning Coffee fuel log from bio-bean () © Copyright

Massive wasteman

The UK government is always banging on about economic growth, and they spend a lot of time convincing car companies to build factories in the UK. Great for manufacturing jobs, not so hot for the planet: our air quality is at record lows. There must be another way, surely?

Enter bio-bean, a successful start-up that turns waste coffee grounds into fuel, employs people in science and manufacturing jobs, and could help power the buses of the future. Founder and CEO Arthur Kay tells us more.

What does bio-bean do?

Bio-bean recycles waste coffee into advanced biofuels and biochemicals. We save coffee companies a lot of money, and at the same time divert waste from landfill and incinerators. We save consumers money by making low-cost, carbon neutral biofuels like Coffee Logs, which perform much better than the competing coal and wood products.

Bio-bean coffee fuel log machine ()


What were the biggest obstacles to getting your business off the ground?

I came up with the idea for bio-bean while studying architecture. As part of a project, I had to design a coffee shop, and I became fascinated with the idea that everyone from your high street branch of Costa to your local independent were producing mountains of waste coffee.

“Waste coffee is a highly calorific material – it contains about 20% more energy than wood – so it’s a brilliant thing to turn into fuel. But before we could do that, I had to prove the concept in the lab and raise the money to build the world’s first coffee recycling factory up in Alconbury.

Bio-bean coffee log fuel ()


How much do ethical considerations form part of your ethos as a business leader?

I’m very proud of the jobs we’ve created. When people think of start-up businesses, they often think of app developers or tech companies with a handful of staff. I hope bio-bean shows that it’s possible for new, innovative manufacturing businesses to create great jobs while also helping the environment.

Do you feel pressure heading up something people depend on for their livelihoods?

Yes – it’s a huge responsibility, and I think anyone who has ever run their own company or led a team feels it. But it’s also a huge privilege to start your own business and I feel lucky to have spent my 20s doing it.

Burning Coffee fuel log from bio-bean ()


Starting a company so young, did you ever find it difficult to make an impression because of your age?

I’ve been lucky – the idea has always captured the imagination of people, and because I’m surrounded by an experienced team I think I’ve managed to distract a lot of people from my age. The cleantech sector also tends to attract young people – so at the ripe old age of 26, I’m by no means the youngest.

Buy coffee logs at bio-bean.com


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