You know when you are taking a shower and you have that spark of genius idea? The idea that will certainly change everything and then you completely forget it by the time you jump out of the shower. Grrr.
Luckily Christian Kemp, of Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea, had some pals around when his spark of genius hit. No he wasn't in the shower.
As he describes his spark;
“We were sitting around drinking coffee and looked at the coffee grounds and thought ‘I wonder if we can use this for methane storage?’” he continues.
So what does it mean for you and me?
"Methane capture and storage provides a double environmental return – it removes a harmful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere that can then be used as a fuel that is cleaner than other fossil fuels."
Cleaner Than Other Fossil Fuels! Woohoo!
Mr. Kemp sees a world where instead of hitting up the pump every week, spending $3.50 a gallon, you could be filling up your ride with spent coffee grounds.
Of course there is much more to it than that.
"The process involves soaking the waste coffee grounds in potassium hydroxide and heating to 700-900 °C in a furnace. This produces a stable carbon capture material in less than a day – a fraction of the time it takes to produce carbon capture materials."
Sweet! 😐 Uh?
Don't worry about the how, think about the what. The process of storing methane in spent coffee grounds be used to power homes, vehicles and combat global warming.
“The big thing is we are decreasing the fabrication time and we are using cheap materials,” explains Christian Kemp, an author of the paper now based at Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea. “The waste material is free compared to all the metals and expensive organic chemicals needed in other processes – in my opinion this is a far easier way to go.”
Now that's a spark of genius worth remembering.