A September 1, 2015 news item on Nanowerk features research from Korea that could point the way to using coffee grounds for methane storage (Note: A link has been removed),
Scientists have developed a simple process to treat waste coffee grounds to allow them to store methane. The simple soak and heating process develops a carbon capture nanomaterial with the additional environmental benefits of recycling a waste product.
The results are published today, 03 September 2015, in the journal Nanotechnology (“Activated carbon derived from waste coffee grounds for stable methane storage”). [emphasis mine]
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.
The process developed by the researchers, based at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea, involves soaking the waste coffee grounds in sodium hydroxide and heating to 700-900 °C in a furnace. This produced a stable carbon capture material in less than a day – a fraction of the time it takes to produce carbon capture materials.
I wonder if someone meant to embargo this news release as the paper isn’t due to be published until Thurs., Sept. 3, 2015.
In any event, the Institute of Physics (IOP) Sept. 1, 2015 news release on Alpha Galileo and elsewhere is making the rounds. Here’s more from the news release,
“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 compared to all the metals and expensive organic chemicals needed in other processes – in my opinion this is a far easier way to go.”
Kemp found inspiration in his cup of coffee whilst discussing an entirely different project with colleagues at UNIST. “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.
The absorbency of coffee grounds may be the key to successful activation of the material for carbon capture. “It seems when we add the sodium hydroxide to form the activated carbon it absorbs everything,” says Kemp. “We were able to take away one step in the normal activation process – the filtering and washing – because the coffee is such a brilliant absorbant.”
The work also demonstrates hydrogen storage at cryogenic temperatures, and the researchers are now keen to develop hydrogen storage in the activated coffee grounds at less extreme temperatures.
Once the paper has been published I will return to add a link to and a citation for it.
ETA Sept. 3, 2015 (It seems I was wrong about the publication date):
Activated carbon derived from waste coffee grounds for stable methane storage by K Christian Kemp, Seung Bin Baek, Wang-Geun Lee, M Meyyappan, and Kwang S Kim. IOP Publishing Ltd • Nanotechnology, Volume 26, Number 38 doi:10.1088/0957-4484/26/38/385602) Published 2 September 2015 • © 2015
This is an open access paper.
Plus, there is a copy of the press release on EurekAlert.