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British Team Constructs Coffee-Powered Car

British Team Constructs Coffee-Powered Car


By Chris Scott Barr

For the coffee drinkers out there, how many cups does it take you to get through a typical workday? For many, loading up on coffee is about the equivalent of putting gas in a car. The longer you want to stay productive, the more you need to ingest. Now what if you actually tried to fuel your car with the stuff? Apparently you can, but you’ll need more than a few cups to get you through the day.

A team at the BBC1 science show Bang Goes The Theory took an old ’88 Volkswagen Scirocco and modified it to run off of coffee grounds. Now before you get too excited about running a car off of a cup of Joe, you’ll have to consider the fact that it’ll take the equivalent of 56 espressos just to travel a single mile. To further break that down, it’ll cost roughly 50 times more than simply using gas. Needless to say, this is one of those projects that was done “because they could” and not because it was practical. The team is also using it to try and raise awareness on using alternative fuels.

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  • SubHero

    The proper alternative fuels are: number one – bio diesel made from algae which produces the highest amount of oil per weight, is the fastest growing plant (100-300 times the speed of corn), can be grown on places that are not farmland and since it can be grown in tanks it has a very high used land per product ratio (several times higher than any dry land based plant). Since it grows so fast it also consumes considerable amounts of CO2 which is another great benefit.

    The second source is garbage biomass (meat industry waste, kitchen waste or agricultural byproducts) which can be turned into crude oil and subsequently plastic or even jet fuel alternatives.

    Nothing else! Especially NOT CORN which represents HUGE NET ENERGY LOSS i.e. more energy is required to make fuel out of corn than the corn based fuel gives of. I hate the Americans for subsidizing this stupid cornophilia when the real solutions are not being properly exploited.

  • Nikkita Croix

    It would have been more clever if they had made it out of a Suzuki Cappuccino.

    The technology that they used to make this car is not new. They simply used a “wood gas generator”, otherwise known as a gasifier, and added some coffee grounds. This technology has been around since the 19th century.

    Hooray for alternative fuel!

  • enrolled agent study guide

    Not as cool as the chocolate-powered car. And not as fun, either. :o)

    I think it's interesting how people will bend over backwards trying to find alternative fuels– even if they're COMPLETELY impractical or expensive. So you can power a car with coffee grounds. Big deal. Why aren't these super-smart people working to find an alternative that is actually useful?

  • Low Acid Coffee

    This type of car is new to me. I wonder what type of coffee brand must be put on this car's “coffee tank”. Anyway this car is a good invention, because it doesn't need expensive fuel in order to make it run.

  • Jessicat

    There is a big debate about how much the cost is. With a spike on demand, the price on coffee will rise. Though I think everyone has come up with better liquids to use then coffee.

  • Jessicat

    There is a big debate about how much the cost is. With a spike on demand, the price on coffee will rise. Though I think everyone has come up with better liquids to use then coffee.

  • K Cups

    What is wrong with you people? The “fuel” coffee grounds is almost 10 times more expensive than gas.

    They should have made it run on used coffee grounds. At least that would have been progressive…

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