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Coffee-Powered Car Breaks World Record

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the sugar-and-cream-optional dept.

Power 174

MrSeb writes "A bunch of tea-drinking northern Brits have set a new land speed record for a gasification-powered vehicle, fueled only by coffee beans. The car is called The Coffee Car, and it was created by the Teesdale Conservation Volunteers of Durham, England. The previous gasification-powered speed record — held by some Americans called 'Beaver Energy' — was a mere 47mph, fueled by wood pellets. The Coffee Car averaged no less than 66.5mph and was granted a Guinness World Record in return. Gasification is a process in which any organic fuel is turned into 'syngas,' a mixture of carbon dioxide/monoxide, hydrogen, and methane which can be used in conventional internal combustion engines. The Coffee Car was created with the sole intention of proving that renewable/green energy sources can power cars — and it looks like it succeeded!"

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Works with coal too (1, Interesting)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 3 years ago | (#37517962)

Note that this gasification technology would work with coal too.

There's a lot more and cheaper coal than "renewable / green" sources (previously called "food").

Just sayin.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518124)

And as an added bonus, it's still a fossil fuel then, so it adds to the net CO2 in the atmosphere!

Re:Works with coal too (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518224)

Its Green because in theory when you regrow the plants they will absorb the CO2 that was emitted.

However Humans being as we are, we will probably cut down forests to make room for more of these plants and still end up with a net gain in CO2 in the atmosphere.

If there was a good easy solution we would have come up with it now. The problem is every energy source you will have to make some sort of trade off. The key is trying to at least diversify our energy sources so we are dividing our trade-offs and not become dependent on any particular one. So when one source of energy is giving a trade-off we can no longer tolerate we can ramp up with another one with a more tolerable trade-off.

Re:Works with coal too (2)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518412)

Even if you cut down a forest, plant-based fuels are still carbon neutral, since a more or less fixed amount of carbon is available at the surface/in the atmosphere within this geological period. Fossil fuels add carbon to the entire system by releasing carbon formerly trapped deep in rock formations.

Desert (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518560)

"Even if you cut down a forest, ..."
Or it will simply become a desert ... oops ...
You don't want to cut down a whole forest.

Re:Desert (-1, Offtopic)

TheFakeMcCoy (1485631) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518592)

If you cut down a forest does it make a sound?

Re:Works with coal too (1)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518586)

Of course prior to becoming sequestered in said rock formations, the CO2 was part of the atmosphere. Must be something in the geological record of the massive runaway global warming that had to have occured before CO2 became coal and oil. Those conglomerate rocks couldn't have come from continental glaciers when CO2 was 10 times higher than today. Or would that too be "consistent with climate models"?

Re:Works with coal too (3, Informative)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518822)

Um, I think there is, although you might be making some obscure point I don't understand because I don't spend all day on anti AGW sites:

Climate during the Carboniferous Period

from the fine article:

Average global temperatures in the Early Carboniferous Period were hot- approximately 20 C (68 F). However, cooling during the Middle Carboniferous reduced average global temperatures to about 12 C (54 F). As shown on the chart below, this is comparable to the average global temperature on Earth today!

Similarly, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Early Carboniferous Period were approximately 1500 ppm (parts per million), but by the Middle Carboniferous had declined to about 350 ppm -- comparable to average CO2 concentrations today!

  Earth's atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.

If you're talking about something else I'd sincerely be interested in reading about it.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519634)

Someone else already explained, yes it was and things were hot!

Besides all that though, I wonder how much of the CO2 which is naturally in the atmosphere/surface wasn't there way back when the coal and oil carbon were. Released by volcanoes from even deeper in the Earth perhaps?

Re:Works with coal too (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518690)

So, bring back steam cars, just this time instead of coal they would be powered by wood.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518762)

So, bring back steam cars, just this time instead of coal they would be powered by wood.

Wouldn't work...unless EVERYONE was mandated to only use these.

This 'record setting' vehicle...set the record with ONLY an avg speed of about 62mph??!?

You trying driving only 62mph on any roads around where I've lived and you will get mowed down. Hell, that's the speeds you see through neighborhoods with children in them....

But seriously...that is not very quick...most people on main artieries through the cities I've lived in, not just the highways mind you...drive much faster than the posted limit, and if you try going even the posted limit, you'll get hit badly.

Unless you get green energy vehicles to where they'll keep up with real cars of today and traffic patterns....they ain't gonna cut it.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518856)

62mph is almost 100km/h. In my country the maximum speed limit on a highway is 130, some are 100, most inter-city roads are 90 and inside the city/town/village it is 50. Some people go 10km/h over the limit but more than that and you risk getting your photo taken or getting stopped by the police and having to pay a fine.

Still, steam cars in the 1910s managed to get 100km/h, maybe one designed with modern tools and materials in mind could go faster? Steam is good that it can use anything that burns hot enough as a power source, so, wood could be used. Some people use wood to heat their houses (electricity is expensive and natural gas, while better, is not available everywhere).

Re:Works with coal too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37519770)

In my backwards country the open road speed is 100km/h. 10k over will be enough to get a speed camera fine or pulled over by a cop.

The average posted speed seems to be decreasing too. Speed signs never, ever go up. CBD limits are going down to 30k. some 70k roads get put down to 60...
Although the quality of our roads is probably the worst in the oecd...

Re:Works with coal too (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519334)

The back can be fitted with a bulldozer blade with spikes attached. The vehicle will be partially propelled by the force of idiots on cellphones colliding with it. If you drop the remains off at the recycler, driving the car might yield a net profit.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518828)

Here on the East Coast we have WAY too many ugly, tree covered mountains that are practically completely filled with this valuable inexpensive resource.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518140)

Not sure how much coffee qualifies as food (even if i can't live without it) compared with i.e. corn. But regarding coal, or even oil, i remember in Pohl's Heechee saga where people in that future used them as food source in the CHON [wikipedia.org] factories.

Re:Works with coal too (1)

finarfinjge (612748) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518186)

I suppose we could cut down some rainforest if we don't want to use food. That would still be green wouldn't it?

Re:Works with coal too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518724)

Finally! A good use for all that waste coal that's been piling up in landfills!

Re:Works with coal too (3, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519574)

It also works with cellulose (the parts of the plant you don't eat). No strip mining, no tailings, no net CO2 (assuming you keep growing the plant, you are just cycling the CO2).

Why would one want to use dirty old coal?

"Gasification" (4, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37517970)

Gasification is a process in which any organic fuel is turned into 'syngas,' a mixture of carbon dioxide/monoxide, hydrogen, and methane which can be used in conventional internal combustion engines

Just for those who don't know. This was very popular during and after WW-II in Germany as gas supplies were next to non-existent. In these gasification systems, you could burn pretty much anything combustible. Wood was popular a popular choice. It's a very old technology.

Not 100% related, but the original Diesel engine, ran on peanut oil. Fossil fuels only got used later in Diesel technology.

Re:"Gasification" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518156)

Not only that, but this is VERY common in current day North Korea. Usually wood is the fuel of choice.

Re:"Gasification" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518836)

Na, they just burn the bodies of prisoners. Adolph would have been proud.

Myth (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518318)

Diesel designed his engine around coal dust.

Someone else ran it on peanut oil for exhibition in Paris.

Re:Myth (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518604)

Well thanks for clearing that up. I knew it would run on coal dust, but I wasn't aware it was designed to do that. I'm pretty sure it could run on anything "dust" as long as the dust was burnable (flour for example?). Modern day Diesels probably wouldn't like that though ;-)

Re:"Gasification" (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518616)

It has also been used in South Africa. Also in both Germany and South Africa coal was actually the preferred feedstock and they would then take the process one step further creating liquid hydrocarbons like diesel, avgas, and gasoline. To complete the process to liquid you need the Fischer-Tropsch Process [wikipedia.org] . You are correct in that this is old technology the Fischer-Tropshc process was first developed in Germany in the 1920 and creating charcoal has been around for a couple thousand years.

Re:"Gasification" (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519446)

Here is the link to the WWII use of the technology. I was going to post the info, but you beat me to it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas [wikipedia.org]

Holy crap!! Been-go!!! (2)

getkashyap (678131) | more than 3 years ago | (#37517974)

Someone's be(a)n working real hard!!!

Next step... (5, Funny)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37517978)

Mr. Fusion!

Re:Next step... (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518528)

(Score:3, Insightful)

This is where I need a mod (+1, Wish It Were Insightful).

It's not that green... (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518024)

Maybe that using coffee beans or fries oil is truly green to use for some proof of concept cars like that, but imagine the whole planet running its cars with coffee beans or wood pellets. How long before coffee gets sold at 500$ per kilo, or wood being sold 50000$ for a dead tree? Using pesticides and faster growing stuff? Using energy at such large scale as we use dead dinosaurs as today cannot really be green, unless we can *FINALLY* get nuclear fusion working, which is 50 years away, isn't it?

Re:It's not that green... (0)

sohmc (595388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518076)

I think the word "green" has become too flippantly used.

I don't see this as green, by which I mean will reduce greenhouse gasses.

I see this as green, by which I mean will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Stupid environmentalists confusing everyone again.

Re:It's not that green... (1)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518260)

I often wonder if "environmentalists" have any real appreciation of the laws of thermodynamics or idea of the energy needs of of modern society when they take on endeavors like this. If all of society decided to run their cars off of coffee and/or wood-chips there would soon be no wood or coffee left. What kind of environmental catastrophe would that lead so?

Re:It's not that green... (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518904)

An earth full of tired tree cutters?

Re:It's not that green... (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519102)

You really think their attitude is more "See, we can run the world on coffee grounds" than it is "See, you can do all sorts of wacky things, like running a car on coffee grounds"?

Re:It's not that green... (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519518)

How does thermodynamics come into play? If the earth were a closed system, that would be one thing, but we have this convenient star that periodically gives us some extra energy....

As far as being "green" as pointed out elsewhere, this would, ideally, be "carbon neutral", although in practice it would at best be merely less carbon intensive than fossil fuels. So, it's "green" as in "not as bad as some alternatives".

What it really comes down to is using the biomass as a convenient storage and transport mechanism for solar energy. In the end, that's what we want to use, one way or another, for pretty much every energy technology except nuclear fission/fusion. The trick is just finding the way to use solar energy which maximizes convenience and minimizes the bad side-effects.

I think a more interesting solution for gassification would involve picking the fuel source for maximum efficiency...off the top of my head, it'd be very interesting to see what sort of efficiency could be gotten if they grew algae, say, and created dehydrated pellets from it to use as fuel. Perhaps someone has tried that?

Re:It's not that green... (1)

alop (67204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518400)

The article is not clear on this, but the site it references (coffeecar.org) states the fuel is spent coffee grounds. So, it's maybe a little greener than using whole raw beans. At least it's using something that would otherwise go into the garbage, or my garden.

Re:It's not that green... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518656)

Not necessarily -- at least for coffee beans and the like. Search Google, and you'll see tutorials on converting your *USED* coffee grounds into fire-starter logs (like the Duraflame logs sold in grocery stores). With coffee, tea, etc., you can use the product as you normally would, then recycle the leftover grounds for your fuel source. Just imagine how much fuel you could produce by recycling the used grounds from every Starbucks and Duncan Donuts in the U.S. :)

Re:It's not that green... (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518790)

As any good slashdotter, I didn't RTFA, so if that's true, that it runs on coffee grouns leftovers, that would be a little greener, but how many coffees would I have to drink to get to work everyday? I think I'd never sleep again and would always be at the restroom...

Re:It's not that green... (0)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518876)

I didn't RTFA either, but from the comments elsewhere it looks like this is indeed how they did it. Nonetheless, you're right. Anyone drinking enough coffee to power a car would no longer need the car to commute, LOL.

why coffee? (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518028)

What an expensive choice. Is this just a PR stunt, or is there something inherently better (say, volatile oils) that makes coffee beans better than, say, wood?

Re:why coffee? (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518054)

I haven't RTFA, but perhaps it runs on grounds instead of beans? There's certainly lots of those laying around...

Re:why coffee? (1)

alop (67204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518218)

The site coffeecar.org makes reference to using waste from coffee shops. So, I guess that better than wasting perfectly good beans.

Re:why coffee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518178)

I didn't watch the video, but from what little the article says, it sounds they just wanted to show off the concept. Using coffee probably just seemed like an amusing way to draw attention to their efforts. I think it's unfortunate, because it will inevitably be criticized as a gimmicky way to produce fuel that isn't really "green". Producing synthetic fuel from coffee probably makes about as much economic and environmental sense as corn-ethanol.

Re:why coffee? (2)

Aguazul (620868) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518184)

It is a waste product normally thrown away.

Re:why coffee? (3, Informative)

jm007 (746228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518614)

If I had to guess as to why use coffee beans as fuel, I understand that when roasted, they are actually subjected to a process called torrefaction. In this way, moisture and other undesirable compounds in the raw biomass are boiled off. What remains has a Btu content just under that of coal, burns more consistently, and is resistant to moisture. Even if the coffee was first used to make the tasty beverage, I'm sure the used grounds would still have plenty of use as a gasification fuel.

The costs of processing the 'fuel' is actually paid for by the first use of coffee: drinking. To get a ready-to-use gasification fuel as a by-product sounds like a great way to extend its uses.

p.s., sorry, I think I duped this reply

Conservation Volunteers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518034)

How many poor Africans had to toil under unbearable conditions on coffee plantations to produce fuel for that thing? I guess it's ok as long as they saved a tree somewhere. Will the car run on hippies?

Re:Conservation Volunteers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518194)

How many poor Africans had to toil under unbearable conditions on coffee plantations to produce fuel for that thing? I guess it's ok as long as they saved a tree somewhere. Will the car run on hippies?

Are you saying hippies like the idea of growing edible things just to burn them in cars instead of feeding the poor? I'm not saying you're wrong, but that doesn't sound very hippiesque to me.

Besides, what's with calling this type of thing green? Is it that the smoke (ripe with CO2, I presume) from burning food stuffs comes from recently grown plants?

Let's say oil and coal are environmentally the worst and let's call that grey (because the color (or absence thereof) black always gets such a bad reputation and who likes grey, anyway). And let's say wind, hydro and solar are green or greenish, then surely vegetable oil, pellets and the like would be more like brown, or something?

Re:Conservation Volunteers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518556)

Don't know what planet you're from, but around here, hippies are all about the idea of growing edible things just to burn them. Don't think of it as a car, think of it as a roving bong.

Caffeine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518038)

Goes to show just what caffeine can do to/for you!

Renewable but not sustainable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518046)

The Coffee Car was created with the sole intention of proving that renewable/green energy sources can power cars â" and it looks like it succeeded!

Yeah right. Now scale that out to 600 million cars.

If you took all the coffee beans in existence from the entire world it couldn't even power a tiny fraction of those cars for one day.

The total cost would be interesting to know... (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518056)

They don't mention how they reach the temperature required for gasification of the beans. That requires some energy input, and they didn't say where that energy came from.

Not that gasoline as we know and use it today comes with no cost, but if efficiency and cleanliness is what they are after, a little more disclosure would be useful.

Re:The total cost would be interesting to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518676)

If you watch the video, you'll see they use charcoal (with blowers) to get the fire hot before adding the coffee grounds.

dom

What's the energy density of stored fuel? (2)

Enleth (947766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518072)

If it's sensible, this could be useful in some areas, for some vehicles. Looks like the whole gassification assembly is not exactly a work of precision engineering and could be built in somewhat sub-standard conditions. I'd expect that many third-world plantations of easily gassified produce have lots of leftovers and not all of those have sensible uses to date - some might be just dumped somewhere to rot.

On a different note, if I were the CEO of Starbucks, I'd get such a car as a publicity and marketing stunt, and power it with dried left-overs from brewing.

Re:What's the energy density of stored fuel? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518302)

I would love to see this installed up in an area like International Falls where they have literally tons of old sawdust sitting in piles and every once and a while the set them ablaze to get rid of them. The smell of wood smoke is nice is small amounts but the amount when it fills an entire town you get really sick of it quickly when driving through.

Well, I think we knew it was POSSIBLE (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518074)

The Coffee Car was created with the sole intention of proving that renewable/green energy sources can power cars.

Yeah, but that's not the trick. The trick is proving that it can be done affordably (i.e., in a way that doesn't make it ten times as expensive as conventional fossil fuels).

Re:Well, I think we knew it was POSSIBLE (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518498)

I have been around on some of the green energy vehicle forums (trying to figure out how to properly convert an engine to run on alcohol) and I have seen similar setups in the back of a pickups. There they had a wood fired gassification chamber that was filled with wood. I have built a similar setup that uses the syngas as fuel to make charcoal. Granted this is a very simple setup, one metal bucket with some legs on the bottom and a smaller bucket (needs to fit in the larger one) with a metal tube coming out and under to fire the larger one. Stoke a fire under it and about 30 - 45 minutes you have a self sustaining reaction. When the fire finally burns out you have a fair amount of natural charcoal. This is how I dispose of my brush and also keep in charcoal so I can barbeque every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday when the weather is good enough (less than a foot of snow on the ground and not 90+F with oppressive Minnesota humidity)

Starbucks saw this coming. (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518106)

Well, now we know why Starbucks has been opening franchises on every street corner possible, they apparently saw this tech coming. Next item on the agenda... sponsor NASCAR & Rally cars.

Re:Starbucks saw this coming. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518252)

Well, at least if Homer had a coffee car and not an alcohol vehicle, his gas station stop wouldn't put him into DUI classification.

One for me (quad Venti Latte), one for you (a bag of used up coffee grounds.)

Re:Starbucks saw this coming. (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518968)

Now you can spend $5 on a cup of fuel instead of a gallon. :P

As if the price of coffee wasn't high enough?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518108)

I'd be very interested in a car that ran on politician. S-oil-ent green?

Now that's certainly generating a buzz... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518120)

Does it come in decaf?

Renewable and ecological are two different things (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518130)

This is why nuclear power is ecologycal but biofuel is not. That aside, this design could have potential in rarely inhabited regions where you can't get gas easily if you run out of it. If fuel efficiency would be made high enough, you could run a car on grass and leaves.

Re:Renewable and ecological are two different thin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518254)

...where you can't get gas easily....

Like WWII Germany [deutsches-museum.de] .

Re:Renewable and ecological are two different thin (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518730)

No what is really needed is to have the process be taken all the way to liquid fuels. This is a solved problem as the Germans did it in WWII using the Fischer-Tropsch process [wikipedia.org] . With the same inputs we could probably get massively more useable energy from the resources we are currently diverting to corn ethanol, that and it wouldn't even be dependent on corn we could use input like switch grass, animal crap, animal processing waste, road kill, bamboo, yard waste, garbage, lumbar waste, or any other carbon based item we wish to dispose of.

Was this submitted by Billy Madison? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518138)

The Coffee Car was created with the sole intention of proving that renewable/green energy sources can power cars ...

Because everyone knows that wood pellets - you know, the fuel source used by the previous record holder? - aren't a renewable resource. I mean, it's not like they freaking grow on trees or anything, amirite?

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Re:Was this submitted by Billy Madison? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518682)

The previous record holder only went 47 MPH. While you might call that a "car", I wouldn't recommend taking it on the highway.

To the contrary (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519602)

The previous record holder only went 47 MPH. While you might call that a "car", I wouldn't recommend taking it on the highway.

I would argue that any conveyance that requires heaps of material such as coffee grounds, or wood pellets should not be taken on the highway even if it can go fast enough - because you can too quickly get beyond your piles of fuel. These things seem much better suited to in-city driving (though the ability to go at least 55 would be desirable even for that).

The exhaust (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518162)

The exhaust must smell wonderful, I imagine any coffee fanatic would want one of these. You can save on gas and you can have more coffee scented air all around you while you drive...... winning. Just rock stars from Mars.

HOWEVER.

What's with the AOL etc. license plate?
Also this does have some 'Mad Max' feel about it.

Re:The exhaust (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519298)

What's with the AOL etc. license plate?

UK number plates have the area the car was registered in, a serial number, and the year of registration.

So, AOL 183T means it was registered in Oxfordshire some time in late 1978 - "OL" was Oxfordshire, "A" and "183" is fairly early in the sequence, and "T" means August 1978 to July 1979.

Pfft (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518232)

Everybody knows you dont use Java for speed.

Re:Pfft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518956)

So the car was slow and unresponsive? But hey, it runs everywhere.

Re:Pfft (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519116)

George disagree. [youtube.com] javajavajavajavajava...

Not renewable or green (0)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518240)

Gasification using a waste product would be more renewable and green. But coffee requires significant water, pesticides, and human intervention to grow. This is probably no better than corn ethanol fueling a vehicle. Ho hum. I could power a car by burning diamonds, too...interesting, yes...efficient, no.

Re:Not renewable or green (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518698)

They're using used coffee grounds. It is a waste product.

Re:Not renewable or green (2)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518896)

Gasification using a waste product would be more renewable and green. But coffee requires significant water, pesticides, and human intervention to grow. This is probably no better than corn ethanol fueling a vehicle.

Except that they're using coffee grounds. To compare it to ethanol, you'd have to somehow be able to eat the corn first, and then make the ethanol from the husks/leaves that remain.
All that aside, coffee grounds were just a whim, not a necessity. The rig they built should work just as well with any other plant-based left-overs (sawdust, leaves, lawn-clippings). Just compress them to have similar density and away you go...

Re:Not renewable or green (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519492)

To compare it to ethanol, you'd have to somehow be able to eat the corn first, and then make the ethanol from the husks/leaves that remain.

Which is just the way ethanol is made in cellulosic ethanol plants [wikipedia.org] . The food, you get to eat. The waste, you get to drink. Or drive. Not at the same time, please.

Re:Not renewable or green (1)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519384)

Gasification using a waste product would be more renewable and green. But coffee requires significant water, pesticides, and human intervention to grow. This is probably no better than corn ethanol fueling a vehicle. Ho hum. I could power a car by burning diamonds, too...interesting, yes...efficient, no.

They're using old coffee grounds. As in the coffee was already brewed and made into a cup of coffee. It's like the people that run their cars on old grease from restaurants, you could swing by the local Starbucks and get their old waste grounds to fill up your car.

I can just hope this technology flops... (1)

gwolf (26339) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518308)

We would all surely hate to see coffee prices go up as it becomes the new super-biodiesel. Maybe we would have to fall back to drinking gasoline?

Because we all know... (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518328)

...coffee is so much cheaper than oil.

But I bet it smells good when it's running.

Wake me when you have a car that runs on pigeons. Or feral cats.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518444)

Used coffee is cheaper than oil. Essentially free as it's waste product. But if this holds on, not for long.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518978)

Right, but do you understand the orders of magnitude difference between the waste product from coffee consumption and the amount of oil we use? The last time this subject came up, someone calculated that fuel from all the waste biomass in the country would still be a tiny fraction of oil consumption.

Also in that thread, there was speculation that techniques like this might be useful on farms for fuel used at the farm, and for self-sufficiency hobbyists (and survivalist fanatics). So I guess the effort isn't entirely wasted. And I'd like to personally thank the Brits for funding the research.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519072)

Yep, I understand. Hence "But if this holds on, not for long.". Sorry for not being clear enough.

Re:Because we all know... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519356)

The last time this subject came up, someone calculated that fuel from all the waste biomass in the country would still be a tiny fraction of oil consumption.

Yup. But gasification doesn't have to scale up to power *every* car, it just has to power *my* car. If you make a gasifier, it has to scale to power yours, too.

Oh, you can't weld? Well, tell you what, how about I give you a lift in my wood gas-powered car to the stables, and I'll teach you how to ride a horse instead?

*crosses fingers* (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518338)

Mr. Fusion by 2015!

Re:*crosses fingers* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518506)

We had Mr. Fusion in 2000, 2007, and 2010 already, but McFly keeps screwing up his solo against Bill and Ted, so instead history changes and we're stuck with Biff preaching "Be excellent to each other!" on youtube. And you know no one subscribes to that fucker.

Grounds not Beans! (4, Informative)

alop (67204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518438)

The BBC article is not clear on the fuel at all, the site coffeecar.org, states the car uses spent coffee grounds for fuel. So, this isn't as asinine as it originally sounds, just turning waste into syngas, not a useable (valuable, tasty) commodity for syngas.

Oufff ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518636)

God it must be hot in this car !

What about a junk mail powered car? (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518718)

I'd like to see a practical version of this that runs on junk mail. Unfortunately, burning the inks in glossy coupon flyers probably doesn't smell so good. It might be toxic too.

And yes, it wouldn't really be green. It's just that as long as the postman keeps delivering free fuel to me, I'd like a way to use it.

Re:What about a junk mail powered car? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519570)

Great idea! That might solve the USPS's budget issues as well!

I'm weary... (0)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518774)

Last time people started making fuel with food, the price of all corn based products went up.

While I applaud the innovation, I hope that it doesn't catch on because that means that Starbucks coffee will go from ridiculously expensive to, uh, ridiculously-er expensive. Then we'll have to contend with all of the latte-junkies panhandling to get their fix.

Hmmm... (0)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518782)

So do the researchers realize that coffee is almost as expensive as gas? What is next cars that run on gold or other precious metals? How about a car that runs on rare earth metals? Or maybe a car that runs on inkjet printer ink. Or human blood...

Re:Hmmm... (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37518952)

So do you realize they are using spent coffee grounds?

What is next commentators that have no fucking idea what they are talking about? How about a commentator that then makes a bunch of stupid comparisons based on his total lack of knowledge about the situation.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519354)

not according to the vid. i didnt see any thing coffee go in as fuel except the wood.Why would they omit the fuel being loaded?

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37519364)

What is next? Maybe idiots like you not understanding a joke. Looks like you got on the WHOOSH bus buddy.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519684)

Well, welcome to Slashdot, you must be new here.

No, I didn't read the article, because I am a typical Slashdotter. I took the tiny information that I had, extrapolated it any way I wanted, and came to a conclusion that suited my opinion.

What is next, people reading the articles and making insightful, informed comments based on actual knowledge? If you are hanging out here you may want to consider lowering your standards a bit. Oh, and lighten up Francis, it was a joke. Sorry you didn't get it, but I am not going to lose much sleep over that fact.

Poor car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518908)

...it is good he can't feel the symptoms of caffeine excess ... exhaustion, fatigue and addiction.

a shame about the rover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37518938)

Land Speed record ha, ashame that the rover did make much more speed on petrol

Jono Bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37519440)

Jono Bacon is saying his brother was a part of this. The guy in the article looks familiar...

Coffee powered car (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519490)

"The car that never sleeps!"

Mind you, if I recall correctly, the 2nd biggest commodity after oil is coffee. If true, we could find ourselves bound by "BIG COFFEE"

Coffee is just the first step (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#37519524)

When the lobster and truffle powered car hits the street, mankind will be saved!
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