The “COFFEE BIN” concept: centralized collection and torrefaction of spent coffee grounds

  • Stergios VakalisEmail author
  • Konstantinos Moustakas
  • Vittoria Benedetti
  • Eleonora Cordioli
  • Francesco Patuzzi
  • Maria Loizidou
  • Marco Baratieri
Advances & Prospects in the field of Waste Management


Spent coffee grounds are the moist solid residues of coffee brewing and in most cases, the disposal is done without any intermediate valorization actions for materials and energy recovery. State-of-the-art applications include extraction of the liquids and application of high-temperature pyrolysis. Both strategies have significant potential but have also some disadvantages (extensive pre-treatment, high costs) when applied on a large scale. This study highlights the lack of mild pyrolysis valorization strategies and presents the idea of the “COFFEE BIN.” Separated spent coffee grounds are collected, dried, and thermally treated. The optimal pyrolysis conditions were identified and product characteristics and the mass balances were assessed. Elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, physisorption analysis and higher heating value (HHV) determination was performed for the characterization of the carbonaceous products. The torrefied coffee grounds returned solid yields from 78 to 83%, which are significantly higher than in other cases of conventional biomass and heating values of 24–25 MJ/kg. Higher temperature pyrolysis did not sustain the advantage of increased returned mass yields and the adsorbance potential of all the carbonaceous products was lower than 25 cm3/g. The study highlighted that spent coffee grounds—due to the nature of their production process via roasting—can be suitable for torrefaction because of the high recovered solid yield and the high energy density. The results will be used for the development of a collection scheme for spent coffee grounds in a big municipality of Athens (Greece).


Pyrolysis Sustainable waste management Thermogravimetric analysis Circular economy Waste valorization Mass balances 


Supplementary material

11356_2019_4919_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (121 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and Technology, Technical Physics Group/Bioenergy and Biofuels LaboratoryFree University of Bozen–BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.School of Chemical Engineering, Unit of Environmental Science and TechnologyNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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