Coffee-powered cars – Eco-friendly fuel alternative

In this blog we will tell you all about the cars that use coffee as fuel.

The first car powered by coffee

The first car powered by coffee beans saw the light of day in 2010. Members of the BBC show Bang Goes the Theory wanted to prove that almost any material could be used as a fuel, but it wasn’t that easy.

They used a 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco to which they adjusted ranging from installing a radiator to installing a particulate matter removal system to use coffee as fuel.

As part of the experiment, they traveled from London to Manchester and exhibited the Carpuccino, as the car was called, at the Big Bang Science Fair in the UK.

How does a coffee-powered car work?

Into the carpuccino to make it work.

  • The first step was to heat the coffee beans. The coffee beans were heated to almost 700 °C using a gas bottle to release hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
  • The gas and some of the coffee grounds were then transported through pipes to a heater, which was responsible for lowering the temperature.
  • Once the temperature in the mechanism was low enough, the gas and coffee went into a filter that removed the coffee residue, and finally only the gas was transported to the engine.
  • Eventually, the gas made its way into the engine, where it created a gasoline-like reaction that got the car moving.

Carpuccino ‘s engine was modified to work with carburation. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. A biomass (coffee) is converted into gas with the help of high temperatures and this gas moves the cylinders of the engine. This type of mechanism is the same that was used on the old trains, where they burned coal to keep them moving.

Was it a good idea to use coffee as fuel?

Although it may seem like a great idea to replace fossil fuels with another type of renewable and sustainable fuel, such as some type of biofuel, the truth is that there haven’t been any good results so far. In the case of the Carpuccino, it was up to 50 times more expensive than a normal car.

The performance of the Carpuccino was miserable, because according to the calculations of its designers, it consumed about 21 kilos of coffee per 100 kilometers, which would correspond to about 35 cups of coffee per kilometer.

In addition to the excessive coffee consumption, there are other negative aspects. Because every 50 to 70 kilometers the filters, which were filled with coffee residues, had to be cleaned, and to do this you had to get out of the carpuccino, clean the filters and drive on.

Despite all the care required to drive the Carpuccino, it could not go faster than 60 miles per hour, making the trips endless.

The short range of the carpuccino and the large amounts of coffee it consumed caused it to be forgotten, but the experiment proved that coffee can be fuel.

Other coffee fueled cars

In addition to the autopuccino, there are many vehicles that use this type of mechanism to move without petrol. There are also many other projects using other foods such as rice, even wood pellets and many other options.

To solve this problem, the Bean Machine was developed, a Ford van that uses the waste from the coffee harvest to get around.

Does it work the same way as the Auto-Puccino?

The Bean Machine and the Carpuccino Motor work in the same way as both are gas powered, but the difference lies in the materials used.

to manufacture the Bean Machine, which made it easier to design the mechanism used.

Speed record with biofuels

Cars running on biofuels also use carburetor engines. This type of mechanism doesn’t usually travel very fast, but a coffee-powered vehicle holds that record.

The Guinness World Record for the fastest speed of a biofuel vehicle is held by the Bean Machine, which after its designers put a lot of effort into its design and using the best materials available, reached 105 kilometers per hour.


Although biofuel vehicles appear to be an excellent alternative, the perfect material has not yet been found. Other options besides coffee were tried, but the result is mostly similar: a very high fuel consumption compared to the performance of the vehicle.