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Architecture graduate wins €500,000 prize for biofuel start-up

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Architecture graduate Arthur Kay has scooped the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge for his start-up company Bio Bean

Kay, who studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL and was featured in the AJ’s student issue (25.07.14), won a €500,000 prize for his bio business which uses a patented process to produce biofuel from waste coffee grounds.

The 23-year-old graduate saw off competition from across the world to scoop the prize, which was presented by yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur at a ceremony in Amsterdam earlier this week.

Speaking about the prize Arthur Kay said: ‘With this prize money we can scale up production to other locations throughout the UK. We also want to expand internationally.

‘The cash prize will enable us to develop new technologies and products, securing Bio-bean’s market position.’

Although using waste coffee products is not new, burning coffee releases large amounts of harmful greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Bio Bean ‘upcycles’ waste coffee grounds into a low-carbon biofuel products which can then be used to power buildings and transport systems.

The company believes the initiative could produce up to 1.3m litres of biodiesel and 1.2m tons of biomass pellets per year.

Writing in the AJ in July, Kay said how architecture was fundamental in turning him into a green entrepreneur: ‘Architects are good at connecting dots, they are rarely specialists, instead cross-pollinating ideas from the arts and sciences.’

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