Ignite investment to turn coffee waste into sustainable energy

We are helping turn coffee waste into carbon neutral biofuel through Ignite, the UK’s first corporate impact investment fund focused on energy and backed by Centrica

With around 70 million cups of coffee drunk every day in the UK[1], coffee consumption has rapidly grown in recent decades and continues to rise. This has resulted in 500,000 tonnes of coffee ground waste being sent to landfill, anaerobic digestors and incinerators every year which not only emits harmful carbon emissions into the environment but costs businesses around £80 million for its disposal[2]

To help turn this waste problem into a sustainable energy solution Ignite has made an investment from its £10 million impact investment fund in award-winning clean technology company, bio-bean. Established in 2013, bio-bean are the first company in the world to have industrialised the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced, cost-effective and locally sourced biofuels.

bio-bean’s pioneering factory processes around 50,000 tonnes of coffee grounds a year which is equivalent to the waste from one in ten cups drunk in the UK. This has been achieved by working with waste management companies to collect spent coffee grounds from local coffee shops, factories and offices, enabling responsible disposal of waste while eliminating associated costs from removal. The coffee grounds are then recycled into carbon-neutral biomass pellets and briquettes to fuel the UK’s manufacturing industry, helping displace fossil fuels and imported woody biomass.

With investment from Ignite, bio-bean will be able to double the size of their factory in Cambridgeshire, expand their team and continue to undertake innovative research and development into further sustainable products derived from waste coffee grounds, such as biodiesel and biochemicals.

Sam Salisbury, Ignite’s Investment Principal said: “bio-bean’s innovative approach to coffee’s waste problem really impressed us because it delivers real social, economic and environmental value for the long-term. We hope our investment will inspire others to search for value in their waste streams.”

Want to find out more? Read about Ignite or our approach to being a responsible business. 


[1] Mintel Coffee UK 2008 Report.

[2] Bio-bean.