No Vin Diesel here—only coffee diesel.
No Vin Diesel here—only coffee diesel. David Holt/CC BY 2.0

Coffee is now fueling the London commuter in more ways than one. As of yesterday, some of London’s buses are getting a biofuel boost with oil extracted from used grounds.

According to the BBC, coffee oil mixed with diesel is now part of the city’s public transportation fuel supply. The addition is intended to reduce emissions, but, so far, coffee beans only power a fraction of London’s bus fleet. Bio-bean, the company turning coffee grounds into coffee oil, has produced about 1,580 gallons. Compared to the 60-million plus gallons of diesel used by London’s buses, it’s still only a drop in the coffee cup.

Bio-bean sources its used grounds from coffee shops and factories. A company press release states that Londoners alone produce 200,000 tons of coffee waste a year, and that coffee oil production could divert used grounds from the landfill. There may be even more used grounds on the horizon, too, as more Britons trade traditional tea for coffee.

Unfortunately, processed coffee oil mixed into diesel doesn’t retain its delicious smell, says bio-bean, so don’t expect Starbucks-scented exhaust. And unlike your average commuter, buses fueled with coffee will probably not drive any faster.

Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink.
Sign up for our email, delivered twice a week.