When I heard of a coffee-powered car I envisaged the tank being filled with the liquid beverage from a cafetiere. This is not what is meant, however, and the fuel is ground coffee combusted in a fluidised bed as a form of biomass. "Why choose coffee?" you might ask. However, a BBC presenter was left stranded on the M1 when Britain's first coffee-powered car broke down there. It was intended that the car would make a 210 mile journey from London to Manchester, but it ground to a halt outside Birmingham. The vehicle in fact broke down four times, which delayed the journey while the engine was cleaned.
The car was a modified 1988 Volkswagon Sirocco that had been intended to be scrapped, and it is said it ran on the equivalent of 10,000 espressos, rated that at 1 mile on 56 espressos giving it a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour. There is no need for criticism, however, since the aim of the project was to raise awareness about the use of energy as demonstrated by the car, which has been dubbed "car-puccino". Ouch!
The stunt is part of The Big Bang: Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, in Manchester. This is on through March 11th - 13th and there are over 15,000 students between the ages of 9 and 19 registered to attend it, so far. The BBC programme Bang Goes the Theory will present its roadshow at the fair, of which an episode is to be broadcast on May 3rd entitled "Car-puccino".
I applaud all means to raise awareness about the issues and practicalities of energy, especially to the up and coming generation, and to coin a modern expression the coffee-powered car has thus "done what it says on the tin".
"Bang goes the theory! TV presenter stranded on M1 when coffee-powered car runs out of caffeine." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1257277/Coffee-powered-car-breaks-running-caffeine.html