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).
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Acevedo F, Rubilar M, Scheuermann E, Cancino B, Uquiche E, Garces M, Inostroza K, Shene C (2013) Spent coffee grounds as a renewable source of bioactive compounds. J Biobased Mater Bio 7:420–428
Campos-Vega R, Loarca-Piña G, Vergara-Castañeda HA, Dave Oomah B (2015) Spent coffee grounds: a review on current research and future prospects. Trends Food Sci Technol 45:24–36
Cho D-W, Cho S-H, Song H, Kwon EE (2015) Carbon dioxide assisted sustainability enhancement of pyrolysis of waste biomass: a case study with spent coffee ground. Bioresour Technol 189:1–6
De Luca S, Ciotoli E, Biancolillo A, Bucci R, Magrì AD, Marini F (2018) Simultaneous quantification of caffeine and chlorogenic acid in coffee green beans and varietal classification of the samples by HPLC-DAD coupled with chemometrics. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25:28748–28759
Debiagi P, Gentile G, Cuoci A, Frassoldati A, Ranzi E, Faravelli T (2018) A predictive model of biochar formation and characterization. J Anal Appl Pyrol 134:326–335
Döhlert P, Weidauer M, Enthaler S (2016) Spent coffee ground as source for hydrocarbon fuels. J Energy Chem 25:146–152
Eriksen MK, Astrup TF (2019) Characterisation of source-separated, rigid plastic waste and evaluation of recycling initiatives: effects of product design and source-separation system. Waste Manage 87:161–172
Gonçalves M, César Guerreiro M, de Oliveira LCA, de Castro CS (2013) A friendly environmental material: iron oxide dispersed over activated carbon from coffee husk for organic pollutants removal. J Environ Manage 127:206–211
Hicks AL (2018) Environmental Implications of consumer convenience: coffee as a case study. J Ind Ecol 22:79–91
Hirons M, Mehrabi Z, Gonfa TA, Morel A, Gole TW, McDermott C, Boyd E, Robinson E, Sheleme D, Malhi Y, Mason J, Norris K (2018) Pursuing climate resilient coffee in Ethiopia – a critical review. Geoforum 91:108–116
Iakovleva E, Sillanpää M, Maydannik P, Liu JT, Allen S, Albadarin AB, Mangwandi C (2017) Manufacturing of novel low-cost adsorbent: Co-granulation of limestone and coffee waste. J Environ Manage 203:853–860
Ibarra-Taquez HN, GilPavas E, Blatchley ER, Gómez-García M-Á, Dobrosz-Gómez I (2017) Integrated electrocoagulation-electro oxidation process for the treatment of soluble coffee effluent: optimization of COD degradation and operation time analysis. J Environ Manage 200:530–538
ICO - International Coffee Organization (2018) Historical data on the global coffee trade. (downloaded from: http://www.ico.org/new_historical.asp)
Kim Y, Lee J, Yi H, Tsang YF, Kwon EE (2019) Investigation into role of CO2 in two-stage pyrolysis of spent coffee grounds. Bioresour Technol 272:48–53
Kopczyński M, Lasek JA, Iluk A, Zuwała J (2017) The co-combustion of hard coal with raw and torrefied biomasses (willow (Salix viminalis), olive oil residue and waste wood from furniture manufacturing). Energy 140:1316–1325
Kovalcik A, Obruca S, Marova I (2018) Valorization of spent coffee grounds: a review. Food Bioprod Process 110:104–119
Ktori R, Kamaterou P, Zabaniotou A (2018) Spent coffee grounds valorization through pyrolysis for energy and materials production in the concept of circular economy. Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (Part 1:27582–27,588
Limousy L, Jeguirim M, Dutournié P, Kraiem N, Lajili M, Said R (2013) Gaseous products and particulate matter emissions of biomass residential boiler fired with spent coffee grounds pellets. Fuel 107:323–329
Liu S-H, Huang Y-Y (2018) Valorization of coffee grounds to biochar-derived adsorbents for CO2 adsorption. J Clean Prod 175:354–360
Mata TM, Martins AA, Caetano NS (2018) Bio-refinery approach for spent coffee grounds valorization. Bioresour Technol 247:1077–1084
Minten B, Dereje M, Engida E, Kuma T (2017) Coffee value chains on the move: evidence in Ethiopia. Food Policy, (In Press) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2017.07.012, 83, 370, 383.
Mussatto SI, Ballesteros LF, Martins S, Teixeira JA (2011) Extraction of antioxidant phenolic compounds from spent coffee grounds. Sep Purif Technol 83:173–179
Naga Babu A, Reddy DS, Kumar GS, Ravindhranath K, Krishna Mohan GV (2018) Removal of lead and fluoride from contaminated water using exhausted coffee grounds based bio-sorbent. J Environ Manage 218:602–612
Panahi A, Tarakcioglu M, Schiemann M, Delichatsios M, Levendis YA (2018) On the particle sizing of torrefied biomass for co-firing with pulverized coal. Combust Flame 194:72–84
Parenti A, Guerrini L, Masella P, Spinelli S, Calamai L, Spugnoli P (2014) Comparison of espresso coffee brewing techniques. J Food Process Eng 121:112–117
Patuzzi F, Mimmo T, Cesco S, Gasparella A, Baratieri M (2013) Common reeds (Phragmites australis) as sustainable energy source: experimental and modelling analysis of torrefaction and pyrolysis processes. GCB Bioenergy 5:367–374
Peres Ribeiro J, Domingos Vicente E, Gomes AP, Nunes MI, Alves C, Tarelho LAC (2017) Effect of industrial and domestic ash from biomass combustion, and spent coffee grounds, on soil fertility and plant growth: experiments at field conditions. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:15270–15,277
Ponte S (2002) The ‘latte revolution’? Regulation, markets and consumption in the global coffee chain. World Dev 30:1099–1122
Quiroga S, Suárez C, Solís JD (2015) Exploring coffee farmers’ awareness about climate change and water needs: smallholders’ perceptions of adaptive capacity. Environ Sci Policy 45:53–66
Rattan S, Parande AK, Nagaraju VD, Ghiwari GK (2015) A comprehensive review on utilization of wastewater from coffee processing. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:6461–6472
Russell B, Mohan S, Banerjee A (2012) Coffee market liberalisation and the implications for producers in Brazil, Guatemala and India World Bank Econ. Rev. 26:514–538
Serrano-Gómez J, López-González H, Olguín MT, Bulbulian S (2015) Carbonaceous material obtained from exhausted coffee by an aqueous solution combustion process and used for cobalt (II) and cadmium (II) sorption. J Environ Manage 156:121–127
Shemekite F, Gómez-Brandón M, Franke-Whittle IH, Praehauser B, Insam H, Fassil Assefa F (2014) Coffee husk composting: an investigation of the process using molecular and non-molecular tools. Waste Manage 34:642–652
Somnuk K, Eawlex P, Prateepchaikul G (2017) Optimization of coffee oil extraction from spent coffee grounds using four solvents and prototype-scale extraction using circulation process. Agriculture and Natural Resources 51:181–189
Sotiropoulos A, Bava N, Valta K, Vakalis S, Panaretou V, Novakovic J, Malamis D (2016a) Household food waste dehydration technique as a pre-treatment method for food waste minimisation. Int. J. Environment and Waste Management 17(3/4):273
Sotiropoulos A, Vourka I, Erotokritou A, Novakovic J, Valta K, Panaretou V, Vakalis S, Thanos T, Moustakas K, Malamis D (2016b) Combination of decentralized waste drying and SSF techniques for household biowaste minimization and ethanol production. Waste Manage 52:353–359
Stylianou M, Agapiou A, Omirou M, Vyrides I, Ioannides IM, Maratheftis G, Fasoula D (2018) Converting environmental risks to benefits by using spent coffee grounds (SCG) as a valuable resource. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25:35776–35790
Tsai W-T (2017) Handbook of coffee processing by-products - chapter 10: the potential of pyrolysing exhausted coffee residue for the production of biochar (edited by Charis M. Galanakis). Academic Press, pp. 299-322, ISBN 9780128112908.
Tuntiwiwattanapun N, Monono E, Wiesenborn D, Tongcumpou C (2017) In-situ transesterification process for biodiesel production using spent coffee grounds from the instant coffee industry. Ind Crop Prod 102:23–31
Vakalis S, Sotiropoulos A, Moustakas K, Malamis D, Vekkos K, Baratieri M (2016) Characterization of hotel bio-waste by means of simultaneous thermal analysis. Waste Biomass Valori 7:649–665
Vakalis S, Sotiropoulos A, Moustakas K, Malamis D, Vekkos K, Baratieri M (2017) Thermochemical valorization and characterization of household bio-waste. J Environ Manage 203:648–654
Vakalis S, Ahmad J, Heimann R, Patuzzi F, Baratieri M (2018) The case of frictional torrefaction and the effect of reflux condensation on the operation of the rotary compression unit. Bioresour Technol 268:91–96
Wang H, Xu J, Sheng L (2019) Study on the comprehensive utilization of city kitchen waste as a resource in China. Energy 173:263–277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2019.02.081
Yanik J, Duman G, Karlström O, Brink A (2018) NO and SO2 emissions from combustion of raw and torrefied biomasses and their blends with lignite. J Environ Manage 227:155–161
Zhang S, Su Y, Xu D, Zhu S, Zhang H, Liu X (2018) Effects of torrefaction and organic-acid leaching pretreatment on the pyrolysis behavior of rice husk. Energy 149:804–813
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Vakalis, S., Moustakas, K., Benedetti, V. et al. The “COFFEE BIN” concept: centralized collection and torrefaction of spent coffee grounds. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 35473–35481 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04919-3
- Sustainable waste management
- Thermogravimetric analysis
- Circular economy
- Waste valorization
- Mass balances