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CATTELAN: SUSTAINABLE DISPENSING MACHINES
Here’s an innovative project for re-using coffee grounds.
The idea comes from CDA - Cattelan Distributori Automatici , a dispensing machine company based in Friuli.
In collaboration with the University of Udine, and also with Blucomb, its spin-off business specialising in the production and use of biomass carbon, the firm has been studying the possibility of re-using its waste products.
In fact, every hot drinks machine produces coffee grounds. Fabrizio Cattelan, the Managing Director of CDA, explained the company’s thinking: “We identified a sensitive area in our production cycle, the issue of the coffee grounds, which until recently were just seen as unusable waste”.
Thanks to tests carried out by Blucomb, the company discovered that coffee grounds were of a suitable consistency to be transformed into pellets.
Also, the grounds were found to contain no heavy metals: a fact which makes them particularly well adapted for use in compost or fertiliser, exploiting their nutritional properties for use on plants. In addition, the energy output of coffee pellets is twice that of wood, and if used for heat production via pyrolysis, they create a biochar of great value as a soil-conditioner in agriculture.
This solution to the waste problem therefore offers a whole sheaf of opportunities which could prove the focus of some very interesting developments.
Mr Cattelan explained his standpoint: “As far as we possibly can, we really like to resolve a situation in a sustainable way, and the situation here involves the coffee grounds left over in our automatic machines. However, they also represent an asset at national level, as this involves transforming a waste product like coffee grounds into a useful resource”. Thanks to the tests carried out by the University of Udine, and the discovery of possible ways of re-using this material either to create soil-conditioners or for energy production, CDA is now planning a project to be integrated with its management processes: a project which will add to the extensive programme of sustainability already undertaken by the company.
In view of the sheer quantity of coffee grounds which could be extracted from its machines, CDA has now decided to ask Blucomb to carry out a study for a heating system for one of its factory buildings. This is a facility currently under construction, located at the company’s headquarters in Flumignano.
“We have commissioned a study into the use of pellets made from coffee grounds, because we are interested in integrating this energy source into the other sustainable methods we already use”, concluded CDA’s Managing Director, Fabrizio Cattelan.
This would be the latest step towards sustainability undertaken by the company, which has already made its central office self-sufficient in energy, researched the use of telemetry to control its machines, certified its products, and trained its drivers to operate ecologically.
The company has been in operation for 35 years, and has a workforce of 60 and an average annual turnover of about 8 million Euros.