An innovative UTZ project in Central America is turning wastewater from coffee production into safe, renewable energy, reducing emissions and water use and benefiting the health of farmers, their families and the local environment. With great results!

Woman_cooking_using_biogasThe project, which began in 2010, uses new technology to treat wastewater from the coffee production process. It extracts the waste organic matter and turns this into a biogas that can be used to power cooking stoves and farm machinery or for drying coffee beans.

The pilot has achieved some impressive results across 19 sites in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Water consumption on the farms has been cut from 24 liters/kg of green coffee to just 10 liters/kg. Farmers and their families are saving time they would have spent gathering firewood, and because the biogas burns more cleanly with less smoke, it is better for their health too.

“Good water management is a prerequisite for sustainable coffee production,” said Han de Groot, Director of UTZ Certified. “This project prevents polluted water ending up in the ground or local water supplies and provides renewable energy for coffee farming households. It is good for people and the environment”.

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project is now being rolled out to coffee farms in Peru and Brazil, and, if new funding can be obtained from interested industry partners, to farmers in Africa and Asia too.

If you are interested in getting involved or want to know more please contact Henk van Rikxoort.

Read about our press trip to the project and more in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.