Coffee-Powered Car Breaks World Record

Coffee: Is there anything it can't do?

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Coffee: Is there anything it can’t do?

In addition to providing a morning energy boost for millions of undercaffeinated people and reportedly helping lower stroke risks, it can also be used to fuel a Guinness World Record–breaking car, as a British conservationist discovered.

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Martin Bacon, 42, converted a Ford pickup truck into Coffee Car Mark 2 — the world’s fastest coffee-powered vehicle. Bacon installed a charcoal stove on the car, which breaks down coffee-bean chaff (a by-product of the roasting process) into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The gas is cooled and filtered, and the hydrogen is used to power a modified gasoline engine. The coffee car hit a top speed of 65 m.p.h. in the presence of a Guinness adjudicator at Woodford Airfield in Manchester, England, on Feb. 19.

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According to this video on the coffee-car website, starting the machine is no easy task. Instead of simply turning the ignition key, Bacon has to load the coffee pellets to the boiler and wait for enough pressure to build up. After two test runs on that chilly morning and some tinkering with the machine that generates fluffs of white smoke when started, he successfully broke a world record.

Bacon has long been fascinated with coffee-powered vehicles. According to BBC, he converted an old Volkswagen Scirocco into Coffee Car Mark 1 and drove it 210 miles from London to Manchester in 2010. The Car-puccino, which reportedly reached 60 m.p.h., claimed the Guinness World Record of the longest journey by a coffee-powered car.

Now, Bacon and his team are driving the Mark 2 on a tour across the U.K. to promote Co-operative Food, a British fair-trade brand.

Bacon’s coffee car is not the first vehicle powered by food. In 2009, scientists from Warwick University built a Formula 3 racing car boasting a biodiesel engine that can run on chocolate extract, reported the Telegraph. Unfortunately, the car, which reportedly can hit speeds of up to 145 m.p.h., was banned from the championship because its rather unusual fuel failed to meet regulations.

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31 comments
DavidPerlstein
DavidPerlstein

Impressive. But not nearly as much as the mileage projected for caffuel—a coffee/gasoline blend—in my novel, SAN CAFÉ. Okay, it's a geopolitical satire about revolution, murder, betrayal... and a good cup of coffee. But it's a great read. Check it out at davidperlstein.com. Available at Amazon, bn.com and iUniverse.com.

Ritti777
Ritti777

Coffee and Bacon. Could it get better than that?

jondurham
jondurham

@Ritti777 Why yes... Jonathan Beerman has developed a high speed rail car that is powered entirely by pizza.  Pizza and Beerman.

MikeLand
MikeLand

The absolutely best, and I do mean best alternatively powered vehicle I've ever seen is the bicycle bar.  12 people (6-6) sit on a bar that's on 4 wheels and has a driver.  They each have a bicycle pedal which provides the propulsion.  They can tool around town while drinking their favorite brew.  The driver is the only one not drinking.  Its hard to describe until you see it.

zgryphon
zgryphon

Carbon monoxide, that's... ecological.  When I think "green" I think "deadly combustion by-product".

stonecataz
stonecataz

Basically I think the motor on the back is technically called a wood gadifier.... I could be wrong...

SokrMom
SokrMom

I can do that, too (but I try to avoid drinking that much coffee)!

MarcShakter
MarcShakter

The guy's name is Bacon.... driving a car powered by coffee.... Breakfast coincidence? I think not... 

VladimirGurshpun
VladimirGurshpun

This car is running on hydrogen, when you apply steam on a hot charcoal you get H2 and CO2. Coffee is just for good smell. You'll be better of using HHO generator for this purpose.

jwilcos
jwilcos

This is someone's strange hobby, like many weird hobbies people have. While there is nothing wrong with having a strange hobby, this no importance or meaning whatsoever.

AdamRussell
AdamRussell

It produces a lot of pollution, but it smells so nice!

MikeMiller2
MikeMiller2

The 1907 land speed record set by a STEAM powered car was 127 mph This record for a steam powered car was not broken until 2009!!). Steam engines can run on just about anything...coal, wood, coffee chaff, oil, kerosene, anything flammable. They do not need oil as lubricant. We have the technology and materials to make steam engines lighter and safer, yet we completely ignore this in favor of high pollution inefficient internal combustion engines. Time to do some rethinking.

zgryphon
zgryphon

@MikeMiller2 No one who understands anything about energy would riff on the internal combustion engine as "inefficient" and promote the external combustion engine in the same breath, at least with any hope of being taken seriously.  No, an internal combustion engine isn't terribly efficient when viewed in absolute thermodynamic terms.  They vary, but tend to average in the neighborhood of 20 percent - that is, around 20 percent of the heat energy embodied in the fuel they use is converted into useful work - which doesn't sound so good, particularly when reports circulate of steam-powered electrical generation plants clocking in at something like 40 percent.  Until you bear in mind that power stations achieve their efficiency through the enormousness of their machinery, their near-continuous operation at constant RPMs, and some creative math, none of which is available in an automotive situation.  Steam engines of the kind and size used to operate human-scale vehicles struggled to reach FIVE percent.  Add to that the enormous hassles involved in operating such a thing (picture having to wait around for half an hour or so while your car gets its steam up anytime you want to go somewhere), the spectacular dangers involved in handing a machine that uses high-pressure steam over to Joe Public, and the even MORE spectacular danger that would be posed by having millions of superheated pressure vessels speeding around the nation's roads all at once, and it begins to become obvious why we AREN'T all driving Stanleys today.

TLDR: That technology stopped being used in automobiles because it's inferior for the purpose.  Full stop.  Retronautics is not the answer.

syndromezed
syndromezed like.author.displayName 1 Like

@MikeMiller2   Steam engines also make really cool explosions if the boiler pressure isn't well-regulated.  And I know I'd love to have boiling hot water spraying all over the engine compartment after some idiot who's texting while driving plows into my car.  Safer doesn't mean safer than what's already out there.  And any time you put in a process where you have several different reactions - converting matter to heat, then converting liquid to gas, then powering the turbine (or whatever), you lose efficiency very fast.  Saying a steam engine is more efficient than an IC engine is scientifically inaccurate.  Your most accurate statement is that it's time to do some rethinking - just not the way you intended, oh ye of the Steampunk movement.

RogerGarrett
RogerGarrett

The energy is provided by the CHARCOAL, not the coffee, so the fact that it has an intermediate step of breaking down coffee bean chaff into carbon monoxide and hydrogen is utterly irrelevant and actually reduces the efficiency of the vehicle.

beatstockpromotersdotcom
beatstockpromotersdotcom

I'm building a car that runs on crumbled up dollar bills. Once the fed gets done the USD is gonna be worth nothing and then we can just burn money.

JohnRead1
JohnRead1

The man's name is Bacon he does not use it with the coffee.

SamaraS.
SamaraS.

haha "car-puccino" that's cute. This won't be solving any world wide crisis - like gas, greenhouse, etc. - but it's still cool that you can build a car to run on coffee, and tangent innovation has stemmed from projects that were just cool to do, so we'll see where this leads

harper626
harper626

Bacon and Coffee?   You're kidding me.   Makes me want breakfast.    It is going to be expensive to drive if he used Starbucks coffee for fuel.

paulmartin200
paulmartin200

From the account, the car requires charcoal, in addition to the coffee chaf, to run. Not very economical.

amccarty
amccarty

Martin needs to focus on the next natural evolution of his technology: A bacon-powered car.

EricVanBezooijen
EricVanBezooijen

@amccarty This pretty much already exists, it's called biodiesel, and when vehicles pass you smell whatever the diesel was sourced from, such as french fries or bacon grease.

syndromezed
syndromezed

@amccarty I think bacon grease makes good biodiesel fuel, actually. :)  Of course, you'd have hungry dogs chasing after you all day long, but at least you could put McDonald's or Jack in the Box advertising wraps on the car and get people to buy their breakfasts (and make enough money for more bacon).

pj77
pj77

At 1.50 for a medium cup, I don't think this is the solution to high gas prices.

JamesAbate
JamesAbate

Coffee containes Di Hydrone Oxide, an extremely important chemical neccesary for life and in limited supply.  Where is the billions of barrels of that stuff going to come from?  

syndromezed
syndromezed

@JamesAbate Recycled urine, assuming you're trying to use the chemical name for water there.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

Only 210 miles? What happened? Run out of cream and sugar?

swagv
swagv

"The World's Fastest Coffee-Powered Vehicle" is a title as distinguished as, say, the world's best-tasting fake wombat.