Central American farmers produce energy from coffee wastewater

By treating discharges from coffee mills, energy can be generated harnessing environmental impact and saving water resources, proves Energy from Coffee Wastewater project UTZ Certified.

The project initiated in 2010 conducted study on environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry.

Custom-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, ten in Honduras and one in Guatemala.

UTZ Certified widened the initiative to other countries after seeing the positive impact of the project on over 5,000 people in the region.

Coffee production generates a great amount of wastewater that is released untreated into rivers. Besides, coffee wastewater contains tons of organic waste and high toxicity that generates greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly methane.

Farmers in Central America Generate Energy From Coffee Wastewater
The Energy produced from Coffee Wastewater project has been implemented in farming as well as for preventing local deforestation of native trees.

In addition, other benefits included treatment of essentially all water used in coffee processing, over 50 percent less water used during coffee processing, generation of significant amount of biogas and prevention of the release of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Coffee production becomes environmentally sustainable when water is efficiently used and the polluted water is treated. Local ecosystems do not have the capacity to clean the contaminated fluids, said, Han De Groot, executive director, UTZ Certified.

On the other hand, coffee production depends on a ready supply of fresh water. So if coffee is to be produced in a sustainable manner, wastewater must be treated when released into the environment, he concluded.

UTZ Certified is currently introducing the technology in Peru and Brazil and plans to spread into Africa and Asia.