Caffeine Conversion: Ontario envirotech company turns coffee waste into car parts

Toronto, Ontario — Competitive Green Technologies, a biomaterials company headquartered in Waterloo, Ont. has developed a patented technology that will allow Ford Motor Co. to convert coffee waste into resin for car parts.

Rather than relying on the traditional process to create resins and polymers, Competitive Green Technologies uses coffee chaff⁠—the dried skin of coffee beans, removed during the roasting process⁠—to create small odourless biocarbon pellets that can be moulded to form a variety of car parts.

Partnering with McDonald’s, which has said it will donate “a significant portion” of its North American coffee chaff to the cause, Ford plans to use the fast-food chain’s coffee waste to make headlight housings for several models, including the Lincoln Continental and the Mustang. 

Competitive Green Technologies says its process can reduce a part’s weight by up to 23 percent in some applications. The pellets can be also be used to create parts that use talc-filled polypropylene or nylon components.

The technology was developed and patented at Ontario’s University of Guelph, where researchers were searching for organic alternatives for polymers used in plastics.

Prior to the breakthrough, coffee chaff was typically thrown on fields as fertilizer⁠—or burned.

Ford has reportedly been working to identify potential upcycled ingredients for its manufacturing processes for more than a decade. In the past, the automaker has tried materials like wheat waste, tomato, coconut and other plants.

For more information about Competitive Green Technologies, click here.

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