South Korea imported one-hundred-forty-three-thousand tons of coffee last year.
That annual figure is estimated at over one-hundred-fifty tons, when also accounting for coffee beans that are brought into the nation separately by travelers and tourists.
That's a great deal of caffeine and an extra supply of energy for consumers, but it also creates a large amount of coffee residues that are thrown out as waste.
The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials says it has developed a way to use the coffee waste using a new technology to convert coffee grounds into renewable energy sources, such as bio-fuel.
This is done using a reactor that vaporizes coffee grounds by heating them at five-hundred degrees Celsius.
When the coffee waste evaporates from the intense heat, renewable bio-energy is produced.
The technology in its current form can convert two-hundred kilograms of coffee grounds into approximately two.five tons of bio-fuel.
The conversion process only takes an hour to complete, and the team says the technology is mature enough to be commercialized right away.
"This is such an efficient way of creating and using renewable energy, since it produces bio-fuel using waste that previously could not be recycled."
The team says, due to its efficiency and eco-friendly traits, bio-fuel can become a prominent energy source in the coming years, and added it is finding ways to further improve the technology to yield higher energy conversion rates.
Cho Sung-min, Arirang News.