A power station in the French Alps generates electricity from cheese and provides enough power to roughly 1,500 people in the community.
This may sound surprising, but this is actually happening now at a new power plant in the French Alps.
In a plant in Albertville, Savoie, a by-product of Beaufort Cheese, which is the skimmed whey is converted into a bio-gas, a compound gas combining the carbon dioxide and methane. In order to produce a gas, a certain bacteria is added to the whey that will eventually generate electricity which will be sold to the energy company EDF
According to the company who built and designed the power station, the ingredient is quite as simple as a natural yogurt. Francois Decker of Valbio says, “Whey is our fuel”
To produce a Beaufort cheese, full fat milk is used. After the entire process, whey and cream will be left to be used to produce other products. The cream is used to making butter, protein powder (used as food supplement) and ricotta cheese. The skimmed whey is confined within a tank filled with bacteria that aids in the natural fermentation process that produces methane.
The methane gas is placed into an engine that heats water to 90 degrees Celsius and produces electricity. This simple scientific procedure can produce and supply energy to 1,500 people in a community for one year with 2.8 million kilowatt per hour power.
This power station is not the first cheese-based plant built but is considered one of the largest. Nowadays, about 20 other small scale plants are built in France, Canada, and other European countries. There are also plans to build units in Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, and Italy.
A family owned cheese makers in Somerset, named Wyke Farms also have their own self- generating electricity from left over crops, waste cheese, and manure. Pretty awesome right?