EGEB: Coffee grounds as green heating fuel, UK’s first net-zero neighborhood, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Did you know that your coffee grounds can be turned into green heating logs?
  • The UK builds its first net-zero-energy neighborhood.
  • The Big 7 banks, including the World Bank, get failing grades on a green energy report card.
  • New York City will build the world’s largest storage battery to replace existing gas plants.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Coffee grounds for green heating

If you have a log burner, or just want to build a campfire, there’s a great way to enjoy that experience and also be environmentally friendly. A new type of green heating fuel is being made from ground coffee gathered from cafes, restaurants, and universities — carbon-neutral coffee logs.

And starting this month, London Stansted Airport will be the world’s first airport to convert all of its ground coffee into coffee logs, in partnership with Bio-bean, the world’s biggest recycler of coffee grounds.

To put that in perspective, Stansted airport passengers drink more than 6 million cups of coffee annually, which produces 150 metric tons of coffee waste.

As Real Homes explains,

[Coffee logs’] environmental credentials are sound: These logs burn 20% slower and 20% hotter than dry wood, and they divert organic waste from going to landfill.

Sadly, the logs don’t put off that great coffee aroma, but they have a nice woody smell. You can order them on Amazon in the US and at B&Q in the UK.

UK net-zero-energy houses

UK developers Ssassy Property are building Springfield Meadows in Abingdon, Oxfordshire — 25 net zero houses that will be powered entirely by solar energy.

Ssassy’s partner, Greencore, is building the Springfield Meadows properties. Greencore builds each net zero house to Passivhaus energy efficiency standards. According to the Passivhaus Trust, the definition of a Passivhaus is:

A building in which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling the fresh air flow required for a good indoor air quality, without the need for additional recirculation of air.

In addition to being powered entirely by solar, having energy storage batteries, and featuring green heating, Springfield Meadows net zero houses have further renewable energy features such as:

  • Low carbon heat from heat pumps serving under-floor heating and domestic hot water
  • Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) system, which provides fresh, warm air by capturing the heat from the exhaust air from the house
  • A dedicated circuit to allow for future installation of a car-charging pod
  • Biond — a low-carbon, closed panel, timber frame construction system insulated with Lime-Hemp and natural fibre insulation to achieve equivalent of Passivhaus Air-tightness below 1 air change per hour
  • Use of high quality Kebony timber cladding — the Kebony technology is an environmentally friendly, patented process that enhances the properties of sustainable softwood

“We think is the first development of zero-carbon, net zero energy houses in the country,” said Ian Pritchett of Ssassy Property to Triangle News.

Big global banks are dropping the renewable energy ball

A new report, called “Small Steps Are Not Enough,” from Christian Aid’s Big Shift Global website, ranks seven big multilateral development banks (MDBs) on their efforts to move finance from fossil fuels to green energy. Let’s just say that no one is graduating valedictorian of their class.

The bottom line from Big Shift Global: “All the MDBs need to be taking much bigger action to achieve their goals of stopping climate change and ending poverty.”

Fortune reports:

Development banks are on the front lines of the debate as they are often one of the biggest suppliers of risk capital to infrastructure and energy-production projects in developing countries.

“There are two main points,” Kat Kramer, global lead on climate change for advocacy group Christian Aid and the report’s coauthor, told Fortune. “One is that funding for green energy projects is growing too slowly, and the other is that the development banks continue to fund fossil fuel energy.”

Fossil-fuel project financing nearly matches financing for green energy. When it comes to fossil fuels, most investments are now in natural gas.

Big energy storage battery in NYC

Ravenwood Development in Long Island City, Queens, is set to replace gas peaker plants with the world’s largest energy storage facility.

The 316-megawatt Ravenswood energy storage facility will hold enough electricity to power over 250,000 households over an eight-hour period.

The storage facility is expected to be partially operational by March 2021. According to the State of New York’s Public Service Commission, who approved the project, the facility will be able to provide:

Peak capacity, energy and ancillary services, offset more carbon-intensive on-peak generation with power stored during the off-peak period, and enhance grid reliability in New York City. The project represents a unique opportunity to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and expand clean energy resource use, consistent with the State’s clean energy goals.

According to PV Magazine, “Ravenwood argues that even though the facility would be charged by any electricity source — fossil fuels included — it would still lower overall emissions within the city.”

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.