Coffee: Is there anything it can’t do?
In addition to providing a morning energy boost for millions of undercaffeinated people and reportedly helping lower stroke risks, it can also be used to fuel a Guinness World Record–breaking car, as a British conservationist discovered.
Martin Bacon, 42, converted a Ford pickup truck into Coffee Car Mark 2 — the world’s fastest coffee-powered vehicle. Bacon installed a charcoal stove on the car, which breaks down coffee-bean chaff (a by-product of the roasting process) into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The gas is cooled and filtered, and the hydrogen is used to power a modified gasoline engine. The coffee car hit a top speed of 65 m.p.h. in the presence of a Guinness adjudicator at Woodford Airfield in Manchester, England, on Feb. 19.
According to this video on the coffee-car website, starting the machine is no easy task. Instead of simply turning the ignition key, Bacon has to load the coffee pellets to the boiler and wait for enough pressure to build up. After two test runs on that chilly morning and some tinkering with the machine that generates fluffs of white smoke when started, he successfully broke a world record.