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Could cheese be a 'gouda' fuel source?



You might think there’s no ‘whey’ that cheese could act as a viable fuel source, but Iona Capital a specialist environmental fund manager, has recently secured a deal with the Wensleydale Creamery to produce over 10,000 MWh of energy per year from a by-product of cheese making. If you don’t ‘brie-lieve’ us, read on to discover the whole story…
Could cheese be a 'gouda' fuel source?
(Image via Wensleyday Creamery).

The Wensleydale Creamery, which is situated in the heart of Yorkshire Dales in Hawes, UK makes over 4,000 tons of cheese every year. But producing that volume of cheese leaves large amounts of a certain by-product: whey.

Instead of sending that waste to landfill, the deal will see Iona Capital purchase the whey to be used as a feedstock for its nine anaerobic digestion facilities across the UK. Using whey as a feedstock will produce nearly one million cubic metres of ‘green gas’ which will then be used to produce thermal power to heat around 800 homes per year.

By using these new anaerobic digestion plants instead of traditional fossil fuel power plants, Iona Capital estimates that they’ll save the equivalent of 37,300 tonnes of CO2 each year.

This might sound like the kind of plan that would be ‘full of holes’, but Mike Dunn of Iona says otherwise:

“This partnership with Wensleydale not only shows how we are turning waste food products into useful energy for homes and businesses, but also our commitment to Yorkshire. Once we have converted the cheese by-product supplied by Wensleydale into sustainable green gas, we can feed what’s left at the end of the process onto neighbouring farmland to improve local topsoil quality. This shows the real impact of the circular economy and the part intelligent investment can play in reducing our CO2 emissions.”
Hundreds of homes across Yorkshire will soon be heated by a by-product of the cheese making process.
(Image via Wensleydale Creamery).

Sounds like Mike is rather ‘fondue’ of the idea of using cheese by-products to produce environmentally-friendly heat and energy.

He’s not alone though. The Wensleyday Creamery’s managing director, David Hartley also thinks it’s a ‘grate’ idea:

“We are delighted to be signing this agreement with Iona Capital, and proud to be delivering sustainable environmental and economic benefits to our region. The whole process of converting local milk to premium cheese and then deriving environmental and economic benefit from the natural by-products is an essential part of our business plan as a proud rural business. It is only possible as a result of significant and continued investments in our Wensleyday Creamery at Hawes and to sign this agreement and have the opportunity to convert a valuable by-product of cheese making into energy that will power hundreds of homes across the region will be fantastic for everyone involved.”

The burgeoning cheese power industry may not be very ‘mature’ but if it can continue to provide affordable, environmentally friendly energy then we’ll all be ‘cheddar’ off!
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Could cheese be a 'gouda' fuel source? - Time to read 3 min
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