You’ve probably heard that coffee grounds are good for the garden. Turns out, they’re also good for the air!
Researchers have found that if they mix coffee grounds with water and lye, dry it at high temperatures, and rinse off the lye, they can create activated carbon. They can then use the coffee carbon to trap methane.
Carbon dioxide gets all the press, but there are actually five gasses that contribute to global warming: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Methane is 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Natural gas leaks, landfill decomposition, industrial pollution, and even livestock digestive systems release methane into the atmosphere. Total methane release has declined 15 percent since the ’90s because petroleum companies are releasing less gas, but agricultural production has actually increased.
Coffee carbon is the same as activated carbon in water filters and deodorizers. Coffee carbon can store up to 7 percent of its weight in methane. That’s less efficient than higher tech products, but it’s a lot cheaper. Plus, there are plenty of coffee grounds available out there. The biggest challenge may be collecting the grounds, and setting up air filtering systems on farms.
Have a cup of coffee, get rid of methane. It’s a win–win!
“Overview of Greenhouse Gases” (EPA)