Coca-Cola Japan Powers Plant with Energy Derived from Coffee and Tea Residues

Coca-Cola Japan Powers Plant with Energy Derived from Coffee and Tea Residues

Coca-Cola Central Japan Co. has begun operating a methane fermentation system at its Tokai plant in Aichi Prefecture. The system produces energy from waste materials such as coffee grounds, used tea leaves, and wastewater sludge. This is the first attempt to introduce such a system in the Japanese soft drink industry, and is being carried out as a joint research project of the company and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, an agency of the Japanese national government.

Demand for coffee and tea beverages is growing, and so is the amount of residues from the manufacturing process. Although such waste is normally disposed of as industrial waste, the methane fermentation system makes it possible to reduce the amount of waste through natural decomposition, while the methane gas generated during the process is recovered.

The company expects this system to be effective both in terms of cost reduction and environmental protection. For example, it is designed to significantly reduce the volume of waste, cut the costs of waste transportation and disposal, conserve energy through the use of methane gas at the processing plant, and reduce environmental impacts such as carbon dioxide emissions.

The fermentation facility is capable of processing 2,532 tons of coffee grounds, 844 tons of used tea leaves and 3,750 tons of sludge per year. This could save the company 64 million yen (about U.S. $577,000) per year on waste disposal fees and 8.7 million yen (about U.S. $78,000) on light and fuel bills as a result of using biogas from methane fermentation.