NYT Page One: Coffee Masks Smell Of Poop

A new, highly technical study finds that caffeine inhibits the toxic smell of nasty sewage:

Today, activated carbons or porous coals are used in treatment facilities to draw hydrogen sulfide from sewage. But when coffee grounds are transformed into activated carbon, the researchers found that they sop up sulfur particularly well. That’s because of a key ingredient in coffee: caffeine.

Caffeine contains nitrogen, which increases carbon’s ability to eliminate sulfur from the air, said Teresa J. Bandosz, a chemist and chemical engineer at CUNY and an author of the report. To carbonize the coffee grounds, she and her colleagues mixed the grounds with water and zinc, and then dried the mixture in an oven. Dr. Bandosz hopes that entrepreneurs might take the research and turn it into a business.

A coffee drinker herself, Dr. Bandosz came up with the idea because she throws out piles of coffee grounds. “Fresh coffee would work even better — it has more caffeine,” she said. “But it is not economical.”

Coffee: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

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