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Celebrating the UK’s most innovative entrepreneurs: bio-bean

Thu, 12 November 2015

A lot of students have been powered by coffee, but since his brainwave in 2012, Arthur Kay has taken things to a whole different level.
A lot of students have been powered by coffee, but since his brainwave in 2012, Arthur Kay has taken things to a whole different level.
Working on pioneering coffee-based green energy, bio-bean has grown at a pace. With Shell LiveWIRE support, the company aims to help London turn the challenges of urbanisation into opportunities.
The idea was always simple. As an architecture student at The Bartlett, University College London, Arthur Kay was designing a coffee shop and realised that coffee was being wasted everywhere. At this point, the potential of coffee grounds as a source of fuel started to become a reality.
London alone produces over 200,000 tonnes of waste coffee annually. With waste management partners, bio-bean has industrialised the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into biomass pellets for heating buildings and biodiesel for powering transport systems. bio-bean recently launched a London collection route with the assistance of Mayor Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith.
The genius of this end-to-end energy solution was not lost on Shell LiveWIRE. The company was awarded the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award, as well as the Shell LiveWIRE Innovation Award in 2013. Encouraged by their success, bio-bean entered the Shell Springboard programme for low-carbon SMEs, which supports more established SMEs working in the low-carbon sector. In Shell Springboard, bio-bean received an additional £40,000 of no-strings-attached funding.  
Arthur and bio-bean are now going from strength-to-strength, to date raising millions in financing and grants. With this money, the company has built the world’s first waste coffee recycling factory at Alconbury Weald, Cambridgeshire. This facility can recycle 50,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds each year, producing millions of litres of biodiesel and over 40,000 tonnes of biomass pellets. bio-bean is now a team of over twenty people and has secured contracts with a number of major corporate partners.
Arthur Kay, bio-bean’s CEO, has been shortlisted for Shell LiveWIRE International’s Top Ten Innovators Awards, which could see him win up to $15,000 for his business. He had this to say about being shortlisted:
“It’s been a hugely exciting journey for bio-bean thus far, but we still have a great deal of work to do to achieve our goal. A prize of this significance would drive our R&D forward at an even greater pace. Winning the Top 10 Innovators Award would give us a tremendous boost on our mission to get London #poweredbycoffee.”

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