Gasification coffee-car

Published on February 28th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Video: Coffee-Powered Pickup Sets New Speed Record

coffee-carThere is a land speed record for just about everything, from unicycles to semi-trucks, though “speed” is a relative term. Gasification, a method of powering vehicles using superheated biomass to create hydrogen fuel, has a land speed record category, and a bunch of Brits have broken their own record with a coffee-powered pickup truck.

Martin Bacon, leader of the Coffee Car project, set a blistering pace of 65.536 mph and set a new record in the Bean Machine. Using coffee grounds turned into chaff pellets, the Bean Machine uses gasification to power a Ford F100 pickup, a vehicle that has no relation to the American pickups bearing the same name. That said, we’ve seen a better-looking gasification-powered El Camino from Finland that we’d love to see drag race the Bean Machine.

Yeah, 65 mph isn’t exactly fast, but gasification is sort of a “last resort” technology that has been around for over a century. They reached their peak popularity during World War II, when gasoline was in short supply. Bacon has built other coffee-powered vehicles before, including a Volkswagen Scirocco, and a Rover SD1, but the pickup was commissioned by The Co-Operative to mark their 10th anniversary of using only fair trade coffee. Bacon last set a coffee-powered speed record in the Scirocco, averaging a 66.5 mph top speed. We assume the new record pertains to gasification-powered trucks.

Barring another world war or a sudden lack of oil, gasification is unlikely to ever catch on en masse again. These neat little side projects are a reminder that there is a speed record for everything, and alternative fuels are finally being taken (somewhat) seriously by the speedfreak crowd.

Source: The Daily Mail


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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Jason Carpp

    No way! Coffee powered? How is that possible?

    • Marc P.

      They must have used a double expresso…

      • Jason Carpp

        I’ve never heard of a car that runs on coffee. I’m sure it’s possible. I’m just not sure how one can do it.

        • Marc P.

          From Wikipedia:
          Gasification is a process that converts organic or fossil based carbonaceousmaterials into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This is achieved by reacting the material at high temperatures (>700 °C), without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The resulting gas mixture is called syngas (from synthesis gas or synthetic gas) or producer gas and is itself a fuel. The power derived from gasification and combustion of the resultant gas is considered to be a source of renewable energy if the gasified compounds were obtained from biomass.

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  • wattleberry

    Must have been instant,

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