Hundreds of millions of people around the world use coffee to power their day. But who would have ever thought that coffee waste could actually be used as a renewable energy source!
Zero Impact, an Australian founded, venture backed startup is looking to make this a reality. The founder, Max Middleweek sat down with Startup Soda to talk about turning coffee waste into energy and how he wound up in the EnergyLab accelerator program
As it turns out Zero Impact isn’t his first coffee based business. Back when he was working in the State Government he had a side hustle selling coffee skin care products online. That led him to a coffee hackathon event in October 2017, an event Max ended up winning. It was during this time that he realised that no one was doing anything about coffee waste and Max has been focused on tackling the problem ever since.
In addition to his background in and around coffee based industries Max studied Chemistry BSc, MSc at University College in London where he researched energy materials. Max also worked at Transport for London developing policy incentives for electric vehicles to help combat London’s poor air quality.
It was this passion for clean and renewable energy that led him to pitch his company to the EnergyLab accelerator program, stating that business is all “about who you know, so you can’t be afraid to get out there”.
It is the EnergyLab program that Max hopes will help open doors for him. The accelerator program bills itself as the home for clean energy innovation in Australia and will align Max, along with the thirteen other startups taking part in the program, to leading industry mentors across both the public and private sector.
Zero Impact, along with a number of other startups in emerging industries also have to “fight for their right to exist” according to Max. “The largest challenge overall is operating in a policy vacuum without government direction or support, unlike our counterparts in the EU or other markets”.
In addition to the lack of government policy there are a lot of moving parts for Zero Impact to get right. This includes working out how coffee waste can be collected economically, as well as ensuring the conversion from coffee waste to energy can also be done economically and at scale.
To find out more about Zero Impact and their drive to become a leader in sustainable business all while having zero impact on the environment you can visit their website.
This article is part of an in-depth series we are running on the EnergyLabs Accelerator Program. Over the next few months we will be profiling all of the startups taking part in EnergyLabs program to showcase how they are tacking some of the world’s most pressing challenges when it comes to clean and renewable energy.