Growing coffee, like any crop, is a multi-step process that the end users don’t fully appreciate or understand. One step, washing the beans, produces a syrup-like waste material called mucilage. Engineers in Columbia are experimenting with taking this waste product, and using it to convert bioethanol which can then be burned as fuel – in this case, fuel to power generators providing electricity to homes in the area. This also has the potential to result in extra income for the coffee farmers, a difficult business where profits are slim and every extra bit could help.
(via GVEP International)