Energy derived from cheese to power Yorkshire homes

An English creamery is now using its by-products to create biogas in a new sustainable energy project. Yorkshire cheese producer Wensleydale Creamery will supply whey – which was previously discarded - to a local biogas plant to generate 10,000 MWh of thermal power, enough to heat 800 homes per year.

Wensleydale Creamery produces around 4,000 tonnes of cheese annually and will use its valuable by-products to support the Leeming Biogas plant in North Yorkshire, run by Iona Capital. Here, the plant will process the leftover whey permeate and turn it into nearly one million cubic metres of green gas.

Mike Dunn, co-founder of Iona Capital, said: “This partnership with Wensleydale not only shows how we are turning waste food products into useful energy for homes and business, 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.”

Converting cheese into power isn’t an entirely new concept. First Milk’s cheese factory in Cumbria has its very own on-site power plant which converts whey into biogas. Other countries using this method include France, Italy, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand.

“The whole process of converting milk to a premium cheese and then deriving environmental and economic benefits from the natural by-products is an essential part of our business plan as a proud rural business,” said David Hartley, managing director of Wensleydale Creamery.

“It is only possible as a result of significant and continued investments in our Wensleydale 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.”

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