Coffee power: Nestlé Waters announces Swiss biogas plant – with a little help from Nespresso

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Turning coffee into wine and energy
Turning coffee into wine and energy
Nestlé Waters will use coffee grounds from Nespresso and Nescafé to produce energy, at a new agricultural biogas facility in Switzerland. 

Construction has started on the Valbroye plant in the Canton of Vaud, which will provide renewable energy for Nestlé Water’s Henniez bottling plant and contribute energy to the Swiss power grid.

The project is a partnership between Nestlé and Group E Greenwatt, a renewable energy firm.

The plant will produce enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes a year, and will be used to heat water for cleaning at Henniez (this water is currently heated by gas). It will also provide natural fertilizer for local farms.

Coffee power

The biogas plant will process 28,000 tonnes of manure a year, provided by 27 farms. Coffee and coffee grounds from Nespresso (from its Orbe, Avenches and Romont production sites in Switzerland) will also be used, as will coffee grounds from the Nespresso recycling site in Moudon.

“Nestlé will contribute 3,800 tons of coffee per year to the biogas plant, amongst which about 3,000 tons will be given by Nespresso,” ​a spokesperson told BeverageDaily.com.

“These 3,800 tons constitute 13% of the total organic co-substrates used as part of the biogas plant, but contribute to produce 75% of the energy. Coffee has a highly energetic potential indeed.”

Biogas is a gaseous fuel made from the microbial degradation of organic matter. It can be used in place of natural gas.

Used Nespresso coffee grounds are already producing biogas in other countries - in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria, for example.

Turning coffee into wine and energy

In Switzerland, used Nespresso coffee grounds are currently made into compost, which is used by local winemakers to supplement vineyard soil.

Nespresso coffee grounds can be recycled in other ways, which varies country to country.

“As part of our sustainability and recycling approach, which aims to reduce our environmental impact and create shared value in the communities in which we operate, our markets where recycling has been implemented look for ways to revalorize used coffee grounds,” ​the Nespresso spokesperson continued.

“Each market therefore chooses the best option (or options) available locally. Coffee grounds can be turned into compost, biogas, or heating briquettes. They are even used in France as natural filter for the treatment of waste water.

“We have put in place dedicated recycling systems for our used capsules in 31 countries. This means that both the aluminium and the used coffee grounds are being revalorized. Aluminium being infinitely recyclable, it can be turned into new aluminium products, such as cans or window frames for example.”

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