Coffee grounds usually end up in landfills all around the country and the world. Lead contamination in drinking water is a serious problem, that will only potentially get worse as time goes by (and thanks in large part to looming deregulation of industrial poisoning of said water supply; We all better pray very hard that Donald Trump doesn’t become president).
But never fear, because Science! A few scientists have recently discovered a way to filter a large percentage of lead and other toxic chemicals from drinking water by using spent coffee grounds and essentially creating a filter that helps trap and eliminate those nasty pollutants. Published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, a paper by Despina Fragouli of the Italian Institute of Technology and her associates, has shown that a chemical process involving spent coffee grounds, sugar, silicon powder and water can create a very fine sieve that filters out over 2/3 of contaminants:
Image credit: Despina Fragouli et al.
The chemical process between the coffee grounds and other materials creates voids within the filter material, referred to as a ‘bioelastomeric foam’ that can be similarly effective in filtering out lead as compared to more commonly used (read: expensive) filtering processes.
The image above shows the concentration of Pb (fancy periodic table Latin abbreviation for “Lead”) with the bioelastomeric foam filter – Image credit: Despina Fragouli et al.
Read the fascinating and highly technical scientific paper by following the link below.