Discarded coffee cups turned into biofuel

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Can pouring coffee cups into our tank be the answer to some of our century's most persistent environmental problems? That's the hopeful question that compelled us to board a WestJet Boeing 737, in late November, in search of microbiologists Richard Sparling and David Levin. The University of Manitoba scientists have long been arguing for the reevaluation of city trash. Our discarded coffee cups, they say, are a valuable source of biofuel that is often ignored. The cups are used to feed ethanol-producing bacteria with an efficient output of 1.3 litres of coffee cup biofuel, or ethanol, from about 100 Tim Hortons cups. Traditionally, ethanol is extracted from food sources such as corn and wheat; however, this method is much more economical. Like most coffee drinkers, the bacteria show brand preference: Tim Hortons cups are preferred to Starbucks in the production of coffee cup biofuel.
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