Spent coffee ground torrefaction for waste remediation and valorization

Kuan Ting Lee, Yi Tse Shih, Saravanan Rajendran, Young Kwon Park, Wei Hsin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Spent coffee grounds (SCGs) are a noticeable waste that may cause environmental pollution problems if not treated appropriately. Torrefaction is a promising low-temperature carbonization technique to achieve waste remediation, recovery, and circular bioeconomy efficiently. This study aims to maximize lipids retained in thermally degraded SCGs, thereby upgrading their fuel quality to implement resource sustainability and availability. This work also analyzes the lipid contribution to biochar's calorific value under various carbonization temperatures and times. Torrefaction can retain 11-15 wt% lipids from SCG, but the lipid content decreases when the pyrolysis temperature is higher than 300 °C. Extracted lipid content consisting of fatty acids echoed the results of diesel adsorption capacity. The lipid content in the biochar from SCG torrefied at 300 °C for 30 min is 11.00 wt%, and its HHV is 28.16 MJ kg−1. In this biochar, lipids contribute about 14.84% of the calorific value, and the other carbonized solid contributes 85.16%. On account of the higher lipid content in the biochar, it has the highest diesel adsorption amount per unit mass, with a value of 1.66 g g−1. This value accounts for a 22.1% improvement compared to its untorrefied SCG. Accordingly, torrefaction can sufficiently remediate SCG-derived environmental pollution. The produced biochar can become a spilled oil adsorbent. Furthermore, oil-adsorbed biochar (oilchar) is a potential solid fuel. In summary, SCG torrefaction can simultaneously achieve pollution remediation, waste valorization, resource sustainability, and circular bioeconomy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121330
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - 1 May 2023


  • Biochar
  • Circular bioeconomy
  • Lipids
  • Spent coffee grounds
  • Torrefaction
  • Waste remediation


Dive into the research topics of 'Spent coffee ground torrefaction for waste remediation and valorization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this