Want Stronger Concrete? Add Coffee Grounds

Fresh ground coffee (photo by Kate St. John)

24 September 2023

A new study from Australia has found that adding used coffee grounds to concrete makes it 30% stronger!

Block of concrete (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

To prepare coffee as a concrete additive, the study team collected spent coffee grounds and turned them into biochar in a low-energy process without oxygen at 350 degrees Celsius.

Used coffee grounds (photo by Kate St. John)

Not only did coffee make the concrete 30% stronger but the already used grounds did not end up in a landfill, a significant savings since the world’s coffee drinkers create 10 billion kg (11 million tons!) of spent coffee every year.

If the idea catches on, coffee waste will reduce the need for sand in concrete …

Portable concrete plant in Austin, TX (photo by Larry D. Moore via Wikimedia Commons)

… which will reduce the need to mine so much sand, a finite resource.

Sand mine (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Will piles of sand at concrete plants be replaced by piles of biochar coffee? Imagine what it would smell like at a cement plant, like this one along the Parkway East near Uptown, satellite view below.

Google satellite view of Heidelburg Materials Concrete / Lindy Paving, 2nd Avenue, Pittsburgh

Read more about this innovation at Science Daily: Coffee Offers Performance Boost for Concrete.

I hope it catches on.

(credits in the captions)

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