“This luxurious tiny house is powered by coffee grounds” – Treehugger
Written by: Kimberley Mok / Published 09 November 2018
Compact but comfortable, this small home features clever small space design ideas and uses coffee grounds as fuel.
For many people, waking up with a good cup of coffee is a well-entrenched early morning habit. But what might not be as widespread is reusing those coffee grounds — whether for making fabric, food or used as a biofuel.
Now, there’s a tiny house that runs on discarded coffee grounds, thanks to a collaboration between Nashville, Tennessee-based luxury tiny house builder New Frontier (previously), Dunkin’ Donuts, actress Olivia Wilde and Blue Marble Biomaterials, a sustainable biochemical company. Here’s a short tour:
The exterior has been clad with dark-stained cedar wood and Corten steel panels to allude to its coffee-inspired roots. Inside, the home is similar in feel to New Frontier’s Alpha tiny house, with a few minor layout reconfigurations and design input from Wilde.
In this coffee-powered, 275-square-foot home, there a sleeping loft, bathroom with a full whirlpool tub, a sizeable chef’s kitchen with energy-efficient appliances at one end, an underfloor compartment that hides a huge dining table that slides out, and a sunny dining nook that is surrounded by windows on all three sides. There is a large retractable glass garage door that can open the house up to the outdoors; when the weather is warm, an outdoor deck can be set up. Some of the eclectic decor pieces were found by Wilde herself.
But perhaps the biggest feature is the one that isn’t really seen: the house is powered by a biofuel blend that uses 80 percent coffee oil and 20 percent ethanol. According to the team, every 170 pounds of discarded coffee grounds yields about one gallon of fuel, and is used in a standard biofuel generator that powers the house:
There can be natural oils left in spent coffee grounds, all depending on the coffee bean type and original processing methods. These oils are then mixed with an alcohol to undergo a chemical reaction known as transesterification. This produces biodiesel and glycerin as a byproduct. The biodiesel is washed and refined to create the final product.
The home was recently showcased in New York City’s Madison Square Park, before it was transported over to Nahant, Massachusetts to be used temporarily as an AirBnb for the end of October. To see more, visit New Frontier Tiny Homes.