Leftover Coffee Grounds Get a Superpower: Making Concrete 30% Stronger!

By: | May 19th, 2024

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Calling all coffee lovers and sustainability enthusiasts! Researchers in Australia have discovered a groundbreaking use for leftover coffee grounds – they can make concrete significantly stronger!

Brewing Strength: Coffee Grounds Reinvent Concrete

In a concept conceived over a casual coffee break, researchers have innovated a method to enhance concrete strength through recycling used coffee grounds. Engineers from RMIT University have introduced a technique to bolster concrete strength by approximately 30% through the integration of processed coffee grounds.

Annually, the world generates about 10 billion kilograms (22 billion pounds) of coffee waste, with most ending up in landfills. “The disposal of organic waste poses an environmental challenge as it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases, including methane and carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change,” explained RMIT University engineer Rajeev Roychand.

Green Building Boost: Recycling Coffee Grounds for Stronger Concrete

This new discovery offers a brilliant solution. Researchers found they could create a valuable material called biochar by processing used coffee grounds through a process called pyrolysis, which involves heating them in the absence of oxygen. Biochar, a lightweight substance akin to charcoal, is then used to substitute a portion of the sand typically used in concrete production, achieving a 30% increase in strength.

This innovation is a win-win for several reasons. It reduces reliance on landfill disposal for coffee grounds, as well as creates a more robust building material. Stronger concrete translates to less material needed for construction projects, potentially lowering costs and environmental impact.

While more research is likely needed before widespread adoption, this discovery is a significant step towards more sustainable construction practices. So, next time you brew coffee, remember: those leftover grounds could strengthen buildings and promote a greener future!

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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