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

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, 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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