Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

October 11, 2018 by  
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Now this is one sweet tiny home! Dunkin’ Donuts has long claimed that ¨America Runs on Dunkin’,” but now, the company has created a gorgeous tiny home that is truly fueled with coffee. Recently unveiled at NYC’s Madison Square Park, the 275-square-foot “ Home That Runs on Dunkin’ ” is powered entirely by an eco-friendly biofuel created out of recycled coffee grounds. The tiny home project was a collaboration between Dunkin’ Donuts and builder  New Frontier Tiny Home . The custom-made home was built on a trailer with wheels for easy transport. The design was inspired by the doughnut company’s dark, rich coffee and bright orange and pink logo. Related: This beautiful tiny home doubles as a tasty doughnut shop The house is clad in dark, black-stained cedar, inspired by the color of a cup of coffee. On the corners of the home, weathered steel panels add an industrial touch. Although compact, the interior of the tiny home is warm and cozy — just like a cup of Joe. There is a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spa-like bathroom, a chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances and an elevated dining area with an extra-large window that brings in natural light. From the living room, a garage door wall opens up to an open-air cedar porch. The interior design, spearheaded by actress Olivia Wilde, is fresh and modern. Reclaimed wood siding and shiplap add a warm touch to the living space. The home’s furnishings, many of which were also made out of reclaimed materials, are multifunctional to add space. Throughout the house, the company’s iconic pink and orange logo colors can be found. Of course, the most spectacular aspect to the beautiful tiny home is its clean energy , which is produced out of recycled coffee grounds. Developed by Blue Marble Biomaterials , a sustainable biochemical company, the home runs on biofuel converted out of approximately 65,000 pounds of used coffee grounds. To create the biofuel, excess oils in the coffee grounds are extracted and then mixed with alcohol to undergo a chemical reaction known as transesterification. This process produces a biodiesel that burns efficiently. Once the biodiesel is washed and refined, it is ready to be used as fuel through the use of a standard biofuel generator. According to the project description, 170 pounds of recycled coffee grounds produce about one gallon of fuel. The Dunkin’ Donuts tiny home is an excellent example of how to reuse waste , and it also shows the importance of creating a sustainable energy system for homes of the future. Your morning cup of coffee now powers you and your home! + Dunkin’ at Home Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Dunkin’ Donuts

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Dunkin’ Donuts unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds

Scientists reveal new technique to make biofuel from mushroom waste

April 10, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the National University of Singapore have discovered a revolutionary way to transform mushroom waste into biofuel. Despite claims to the contrary, biofuel — typically derived from food crops — is often more environmentally-destructive than it is helpful. This new technique could change that by harvesting energy from waste produced in the process of mushroom cultivation. In a study published in Science Advances , researchers explain how Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum (TG57), a common bacterial byproduct of mushroom cultivation, can be isolated and used to convert plant-based cellulose into biobutanol. Biobutanol is a biofuel that can be used by vehicles designed to run on gasoline. First identified in 2015, the TG57 bacterium strain has been cultivated in various forms to analyze its ability to produce biofuel in a more sustainable manner. “The production of biofuels using non-food feedstocks can improve sustainability and reduce costs greatly,” researcher He Jianzhong told Silicon Republic . “In our study, we demonstrated a novel method of directly converting cellulose to biobutanol using the novel TG57 strain. This is a major breakthrough in metabolic engineering and exhibits a foundational milestone in sustainable and cost-effective production of renewable biofuels and chemicals.” Related: Paris has a new underground – a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies Creating biofuel from waste products is a potential boon for the industry and the environment. Biobutanol holds the most promise because of its energy density, and it can be used directly, without modification, in vehicles designed to run on gasoline. Prior to the study, the high environmental and financial costs of producing biobutanol blocked it from mainstream use. However, the researchers have revealed a widely applicable, straightforward technique that does not require any significant genetic alterations of the bacterium. Someday soon, you may munch on mushrooms with the satisfaction of contributing to greener transportation and a healthier planet. Via Silicon Republic Images via Depositphotos (1)

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World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland

April 10, 2018 by  
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The world’s most powerful wind turbine was just installed off the coast of Scotland. Developer Vattenfall announced this week it completed the installation of 11 turbines in Aberdeen Bay – two of which were upgraded with a record-setting capacity of 8.8 MW. In total, the installation generates 93.2 MW of energy – enough to power 70-percent of Aberdeen’s domestic needs. Vattenfall said that nine 8.4 MW turbines were installed off the coast, and two other turbines with an enhanced capacity of 8.8 MW were also put in place. These turbines are the most powerful in the world – and a major milestone for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC). The company also announced that a few weeks ago it installed the industry’s first suction bucket jacket foundations, which will help make off-shore wind power installations more affordable. ? Related: The world’s first subsidy-free offshore wind farm is being built in the Netherlands All told, 134,128 tons of coal will be displaced by the installation. “The turbines for the EOWDC, Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility, help secure Vattenfall’s vision to be fossil fuel free within one generation,” said Gunnar Groebler, Vattenfall’s Head of Business Area Wind. + Vattenfall Via Business Green Images via Vattenfall

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World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland

World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

January 31, 2018 by  
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The world’s first biofuel flight between the United States and Australia landed in Melbourne after a 15-hour trip. The Guardian reported the blended fuel was 10 percent derived from brassica carinat, which Qantas describes as a “non-food, industrial type of mustard seed.” They said the use of blended biofuel in the flight would save about 18,000 kilograms, or around 39,683 pounds, of carbon emissions . A Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 soared between Los Angeles and Melbourne in the trans-Pacific biofuel flight. The trip saw carbon emissions reduced by seven percent compared against Qantas’ usual flight over the route. Per the airline, “Across its lifecycle, using carinata-derived biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to traditional jet fuel .” Related: Watch a Boeing 737 and a Tesla Model S battle it out Brassica carinata works as a fallow crop , meaning it can be cultivated between regular crop cycles, per The Guardian. Qantas said the crop can be sown in fallow areas, and is water efficient. Steve Fabijanski, CEO of Agrisoma , the agricultural-technology company behind the crop, said in a statement, “Biojet fuel made from carinata delivers both oil for biofuel and protein for animal nutrition while also enhancing the soil it’s grown in.” The crushed seeds can produce a high-protein meal for livestock, poultry, and dairy markets, according to Qantas. One hectare of the seed yields 2,000 liters, around 528 gallons, of oil, according to Qantas. That can produce 400 liters, or around 106 gallons, of biofuel, and 1,400 liters, around 370 gallons, of what the airline described as renewable diesel. University of Sydney agriculture expert Daniel Tan told The Guardian farmers can use mustard seeds as a source of sustainable fuel , saying, “Almost within a day after harvesting, they can press the oil out in their own shed and use it straight into their tractors.” Field trials have shown the crop should do well in Australia’s climate. + Qantas Via The Guardian Images via Qantas ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s first biofuel flight between the US and Australia powered by mustard seeds

London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

November 22, 2017 by  
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Brits may prefer tea, but their busses will be getting a buzz from coffee. U.K. startup bio-bean , Shell, and Argent Energy have teamed up to fill London’s double-deckers with an innovative new java-based fuel. According to CNN , bio-bean has already brewed up 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of the high-octane joe, an amount able to power one city bus for an entire year. So, how is the coffee oil manufactured? As bio-bean shares on its site, the company gathers grounds everywhere from small cafes to Starbucks-like chains to universities and even instant coffee factories. The grounds are then brought to the bio-bean plant where they are dried and coffee oil is extracted. Related: Could coffee help fight cancer? The extracted oil is then blended with other fats and oils to create a “B20” biofuel, which is further mixed with traditional mineral diesel. The new concoction offers a 10-15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to pure diesel, and prevents the release of any methane that would have occurred had the grounds been sent to a landfill. Notably, the mix does not require a specialized engine and can be used with any diesel bus, making the switch easy. Bio-bean estimates that Britain produces nearly 500,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year—enough to power a third of London’s entire transport network. At the moment, bio-bean’s plant has the capacity to recycle 50,000 tonnes of grounds a year. Company founder Arthur Kay, however, hopes to scale the project. Kay, in fact, has his sights set on the U.S. where coffee consumption is the highest of anywhere on the planet with 400 million cups downed daily. + bio-bean Via CNN Images via Pixbay and bio-bean

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London buses swap out diesel for a coffee-based biofuel

Bicycle highway in the Netherlands built using recycled toilet paper

October 3, 2017 by  
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People in the Netherlands use an estimated 180,000 tons of toilet paper every year. Because this amounts to a lot of trees, last Fall the Dutch province of Friesland repurposed the product to make a bicycle highway . The stretch of roadway, about 0.6-miles-long, connects the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden to the town of Stiens. It is the first bicycle lane in the world to be paved with toilet paper — but few can tell the difference. In the Netherlands , roads are typically paved with blacktop. Specifically, open-graded asphalt friction course (OGFC) is used because it is porous and water permeable. “When roads get wet, [they get] slippery, so we use this asphalt because it takes water away from the road surface quicker,” said Ernst Worrell, Professor of energy, resources, and technological change at Utrecht University. The country sees an annual rainfall of 27 to 35 inches per year, so this safety measure is important. While the method is effective, it isn’t the only way to build safe asphalt-type roads, as the province of Friesland recently proved. Last fall, a bicycle highway was built using tertiary cellulose extracted from waste streams. CirTec and KNN Cellulose developed the technology for extracting and cleaning the cellulose fibers. The process entailed sifting paper fibers out of wastewater with a 0.35-millimeter industrial sieve. The fibers were then run through a series of machines, which cleaned, sterilized, bleached and dried them. This produced a fluffy, grayish material. According to Chris Reijken, wastewater treatment advisor at Waternet, “If you look at it, you would not expect it to have originated from wastewater.” Technically, the uses for the reclaimed cellulose are endless. The product could be used in building insulation, biofuel , textiles, pulp and paper, filters — and more. But due to sanitization concerns, it cannot legally be used in products that come into direct contact with people. Related: London Unveils $1.51 Billion Bicycle Master Plan With 15-Mile Bike Highway As a result, the recycled toilet paper was used to construct a bike highway. And so far, officials are reportedly pleased with the investment said to have held up well so far. The success of the project resulted in the same mixture being used to reinforce a dyke on the West Frisian Island of Ameland and to repave a parking lot of a children’s petting zoo in Groningen. CityLab says the city of Amsterdam is now interested in using cellulose from wastewater in its roadways. “It’s a strange idea for people that there’s [toilet paper] in the road,” says Michiel Schrier, provincial governor of Friesland. “But when they cycle on it or feel it, they can see that it’s normal asphalt.” It’s still too early to say whether products from recycled toilet paper will become mainstream, but, in the Netherlands, at least, they’re off to a good start. To repair all roadways in the Netherlands, 15,000 tons of fiber would be needed. From toilet paper alone, this wouldn’t be possible. But using tertiary cellulose from other waste sources, such as diapers and beverage cartons, two million tons could be created. Greener roads are just around the bend. Via CityLab Images via Pixabay , KNN Cellulose

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

June 23, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been working since the 1970’s to transform algae into biofuel . Now a new breakthrough could make this alternative energy source a more viable option. Researchers from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil were able to edit algae genes to produce two times more lipids. Those lipids can be turned into biofuel that isn’t too different from the diesel we use today. Researchers figured out how to tune a genetic switch to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the alga Nannochloropsis gaditana . They used multiple editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9. They were able to boost the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to over 40 percent – and importantly, did so without stunting the algae’s growth rate. The modified algae can produce as much as five grams of lipid per meter per day. Related: New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80% Vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Vijay Swarup said the milestone confirms their belief algae can offer a source of renewable energy . Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said carbon dioxide and sunlight are two major components necessary for algae production, and both are plentiful and free. According to ScienceAlert, a past report indicated biofuels from algae could become a $50 billion industry , with the potential to offer transport fuel and food security. But we still could be years away from pumping this particular algae-based biofuel into our cars at gas stations. Researcher Imad Ajjawi of Synthetic Genomics told ScienceAlert this step was just a proof of concept, but did describe it as a significant milestone. According to Greentech Media , organizations have been working on making biofuel from algae for years, without much progress towards commercialization. In fact, they cited former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who back in 2009 said the work on turning algae into biofuels might not come up with real results for 25 years. The journal Nature Biotechnology published a study on the concept online this month. Via ScienceAlert and Synthetic Genomics Images via ExxonMobil and Wikimedia Commons

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

March 20, 2017 by  
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An innovative new project called LIFE+ Methamorphosis is pioneering a new sustainable biofuel for cars . Car company SEAT and water management company Aqualia have transformed wastewater into the alternative fuel . Powered with this biofuel produced during one year at a treatment plant in Spain, a vehicle could circumnavigate the globe 100 times. SEAT and Aqualia came up with a creative answer to the issues of pollution from traditional car fuels – which have led to traffic restrictions in cities like Madrid – and reusing water , a scarce resource. To make their biomethane , wastewater is separated from sludge in treatment plants, and then becomes gas after a fermentation treatment. Following a purification and enrichment process, the biogas can be utilized as fuel. Compared against petrol, production and consumption of the biofuel releases 80 percent less carbon dioxide, according to SEAT . The new biofuel works in compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled cars. Related: Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees The project aims to show feasibility at industrial scales through two waste treatment systems. The UMBRELLA prototype will be set up in a municipal waste treatment plant serving Barcelona. The METHARGO prototype will create biomethane at a plant handling animal manure. The biogas made with the second prototype can be utilized directly in cars or could be added to the natural gas distribution network, according to the project’s website . A mid-sized treatment plant can handle around 353,000 cubic feet of wastewater every day, which could yield 35,000 cubic feet of biomethane, according to companies involved with the project. All that biomethane could power 150 vehicles driving around 62 miles a day. SEAT will supply vehicles to test the biofuel over around 74,500 miles. The European Commission is funding the project. Other companies participating include Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas , Gas Natural , the Catalan Institute for Energy , and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area . Via New Atlas Images via SEAT and LIFE+ Methamorphosis

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New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees

January 2, 2017 by  
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Until recently, the indigenous Croton megalocarpus tree common to central and east Africa was used mainly for firewood. But now Eco Fuels Kenya (EFK) is pioneering sustainable biofuel from croton nuts – without planting a single tree. As opposed to jatropha biofuel, once thought to hold immense promise as an alternative fuel but which required expensive plantations, croton nuts can be sourced from farmers. Managing Director Myles Katz described EFK’s approach as “completely local.” Research revealed croton nut oil could be a “direct replacement for diesel fuel” in some engines, according to EFK, who describe themselves as the first and only croton nut processing company. As the tree is so common, EFK hasn’t yet needed to plant new ones. Instead, as more people found out the nuts once considered useless could bring in extra income, EFK’s harvester network grew to over 3,000 farmers. This year EFK handled 1,000 tons of nuts. Related: Manta moves forward with revolutionary solar-powered algae harvester that makes crude oil Katz told CNN, “We can buy nuts from farmers so they get an income and we have a business model that does not require $10 million of funding and a big plantation to get off the ground…Everything we source, process, and sell should be within 100 kilometers of the factory.” On their website, EFK describes croton nut oil as “entirely environmentally friendly.” The tree flourishes without extra fertilizer or irrigation, and the nut oil production process requires little energy compared with traditional fuel production. Farmers don’t have to switch away from other crops to focus solely on croton nuts, and can even store the nuts for a year. The group says, “Croton trees’ newfound economic value promotes reforestation all over East Africa, which improves soil conditions as well as combats climate change . [Croton nut oil] replaces harmful natural fuels and since it’s produced locally and not imported, it saves carbon emissions as well.” The group also produces organic fertilizer from croton nut shells, and makes seedcake from pressed nuts to feed poultry. Croton nut oil is largely sold to local businesses to power generators. EFK ultimately aims to plant 300,000 trees between 2016 and 2022. + Eco Fuels Kenya Via CNN Images via Eco Fuels Kenya Facebook and Wikimedia Commons

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World’s first farm to grow food and fuel in the desert opens in Abu Dhabi

March 8, 2016 by  
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The world’s first research facility to grow both food and fuel just opened in the United Arab Emirates. Located on a 2-hectare site in Abu Dhabi, the desert facility uses coastal seawater irrigation to raise fish and shrimp for food, while growing salt-tolerant plants that can be harvested to create biofuel . Read the rest of World’s first farm to grow food and fuel in the desert opens in Abu Dhabi

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