Energy Produced From Coffee in Central America

published Dec 15, 2014
1 min read

Coffee – High Energy Potential


Coffee is well known for its stimulating and energetic properties and it is the most consumed beverage in the world. It usually gives us the energy boost we need in the morning and during the day, but it can also support communities’ energy needs, not just by keeping them awake. By using coffee waste water from their coffee machines, many households can power their homes through the biogas produced.

Create Energy From Coffee Waste Water

In the first stages of coffee processing, called wet coffee, a great amount of water is used to wash raw coffee beans so that berries ferment and the pulp is removed. The waste water from this process is called “honey water” due to its sweetness and colour and it is usually released into the environment without further processing. This liquid has a high polluting effect since it contains methane in high concentration, but it is possible to turn this into a productive use by extracting methane and using it as an energy source.

Pilot Projects for Central American Countries

UTZ Certified, a Dutch sustainable farming group, has launched a pilot programme in 19 farms in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras and it managed to create electricity for many households.Honey water is usually poured into rivers harming not only the environment but also the families that live nearby and use the water from the river for their daily life. Now methane is extracted from the water and electricity is produced and used as a substitute for wood.

Programme Support and Future Plans

The initiative was launched by a Dutch company and 75% of funds are given by by the Dutch government and 25% by local cooperatives. Every company uses a different process to extract methane gas and different sources from waste water to droppings. Such projects have been extended to other countries such as Colombia, Peru and Brazil and UTZ is already contracting for funds to start similar programmes in Kenya and Vietnam.