An unassuming-looking old car powered not by gas, but by coffee, recently broke the land speed record for a vehicle powered by gasification, clocking in at a cool 66.5 miles per hour on average. Gasification works by introducing oxygen or steam to an organic, carbon-based material (such as coffee beans, in this case) and increasing the temperature until a synthetic gas made of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane is created and burned up by a regular internal combustion engine.
The Coffee Car, originally built by British engineers for the BBC show Bang Goes the Theory, already holds a world record, for longest journey by a coffee-powered car (over 200 miles), and now the second generation has proven itself on the speed front as well. The previous record, held by Americans, was just 47 mph, and the car was fueled by wood chips. In this case, it looks like coffee, the same sweet nectar that gives so many working men and women around the world the energy to go the distance, has proven superior once again.
Get acquainted with the Coffee Car in the video below, or check out the record-breaking drive over at the BBC.
This seems like a good fuel source, except coffee can get expensive and it seems like it would take ten minutes to start up your car.
America does run on Dunkin'
It is good to see that people are again starting to do some heavy tinkering. I know it's been pretty constant, but it seems to be getting more prolific.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
I think coffee has been outpacing oil in price-growth for the past decade, and results in thousands of acres of deforestation of rain forest.
Also, we are basically already growing coffee in all of the places where we can grow it profitably...
Using it for fuel is not even close to a viable alternative fuel source.
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
please tell me I'm not the only one amused by the fact that a coffee powered car setting a speed record...
it makes people AND vehicles hyper.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
It is wonderful that we as a society can look into the face of a near recession and still find the money to fund something as stupid and pointless as a coffee powered car. Maybe next lets try to make a platinum powered car, so we can add to our list of non viable and costly fuel sources!
Do I put milk or creamer in the radiator?
Come on guys this is used coffee who would put coffee beans in a car. It was to show you can run a car on a waste, and this car would run on any organic waste that would burn.
and it is to get young people into science and tec,,, so get real and what have you done today??????????
Maybe it’s new for others, but it’s not new to me that 'other' carbon base items can be used as fuel. So I am kind of bored and the aerodynamics of this car is not impressive and well it just looks heavy too.
I can burn Grandmas old crochet blankets in a wood stove too and make steam and run an engine. So, what would that prove to anyone?
Are the future of autos and our society moving to cars that run on used coffee grounds, really, seriously? I not think so.
Well Said Bacon
Its amazing how peoples negativity blinds them of the potential of such "proof of concept"
Gasification is the real story here...
Waste Management has multiple gasification sites that produce electricity for the grid.
A more practical approach would be to create then compress the synthetic gas on site (home,office,rest stops,etc.)
This in its self would reduce the amount of trash being hauled around. In turn saving man-hours,ware on vehicles ect. which always translates to MONEY...
Industries involving domesticated animals would benefit by burning the animals waste to produce fuel for the necessary farming equipment.
In all fairness, I applaud the engineer who made this, the inventor. I surely could not have made it. I am happy to get my key in the door and make it in the house!
I can't believe I'm the first one to ask: Was it regular or decaf?
It is true that gassification would be more efficient in a stable local, but at a cost/profit margin, it is easier to let biomass decomp and pull the methane off the field as it does (like a pig pond).
The reason coffee gets a better run that wood chips has to do with freer oils, a drier medium, and loose construction of better airation.
If you took wood chips to the dryness and surface area of a dry coffee bean with a drop or two of vegetable oil per pound, you would have a similar fuel.
Of course, the more moisture in the mix, the more difficult to gassify - so this is not going to be an end all fix to trash and transporation.
After all, are you going to separate your biological trash, leave it in the sun to dry for a few days, and then crush it into car fuel? Sure, I'll take one for my truck after the apocalypse, but right now, petrol is king.
If I got the first post yesterday I would have asked that question.
While this is a truly interesting accomplishment, I have to say gasifying coffee waste into a carbon monoxide/dioxide/hyrdogen/methane compound for combustion doesn't sound very ecologically friendly.
A zero emissions fuel source that cuts down on pollution but increases the explosive combustion yield in the piston cycle for something that runs faster than near 70mph would be way more impressive.
Still this is impressive enough. If they used Starbucks they probably would have reached 88mph.
I be really impressed if his beard was the same color as the pipes in the back of his car. Now that would be so cool! Ok, yes, I am lam.... stuff happens. lol.
I bet that smells amazing going down the runway ... but either way that is a fantastic substitute for fossil fuels . i just don't know how easily the average person can get that many beans.
"While this is a truly interesting accomplishment, I have to say gasifying coffee waste into a carbon monoxide/dioxide/hyrdogen/methane compound for combustion doesn't sound very ecologically friendly."
Why would it not be 'eco-friendly'? Its no different than plant matter decaying naturally. The combustion of the gases yields Carbon Dioxide and water vapor - and since the plant matter consumed carbon dioxide to grow in the first place, its part of the natural carbon cycle and there is no net increase of CO2. Only when burning fossil fuels that have been locked away for eons and are thus no longer part of the carbon cycle is net CO2 increased. This of course assumes one believes the whole global warming theory in the first place...
The humble beginnings of "Mr. Fusion" (get in line now for your IPOs)
watch the video again! speed it up too 1:28 and watch the white orb fly across the screen! hmmmm? :)