Our guess is that there are no tea drinkers on this team of British automotive engineers that has been constructing a car that runs entirely on coffee beans! Just earlier this month, their pepped up ride broke the world speed record for a vehicle fueled by organic waste (sounds like all that caffeine definitely went straight to their brains). Running laps on the Elvington Race Track near York, their modified Rover SD1 managed to hit an average odometer reading of 66.5 mph, breaking the previous speed record of 47 mph achieved by a US team whose car was fueled by wood pellets.
Engineer Martin Bacon, with the Teesdale Conservation Volunteers of Durham, stripped out the old Rover and refitted it with a ‘gasifier’ and filters that turn waste coffee granules into energy. The car burns coffee in a particular way, similar to charcoal, creating combustion gases (carbon dioxide and water vapor) reduced by hot carbon to carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The gasses are then filtered by a cyclone filter and a rock wool filter, and cooled down by a radiator before being piped into cylinders that drive the engine. The vehicle also uses only waste coffee beans that would have otherwise been thrown out, if not salvaged.
The team’s achievement is impressive not only in their creativity and ingenuity, but the souped up Rover demonstrates a genuine alternative to powering engines using fossil fuels – and at the same time still reach real-world speeds.
The car will be on show at Bang Live in Manchester, as part of the city’s science festival at Campfield Market Hall on October 22 and 23.