France-based Valbio has developed a new power station that generates electricity from skimmed whey, a by-product derived from Beaufort cheese.
Located at Albertville in Savoie, France, the plant has been operational since October and serving the power requirements of a local community with 1,500 inhabitants.
The facility has the capacity to produce about 2.8kWh of power annually.
Left-over skimmed whey from the Beaufort production in Albertville is converted into biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, through natural fermentation procedure.
The gas is then passed onto an engine that heats water to 90°C to produce power, which is then supplied to energy giant EDF, reports The Telegraph.
Valbio director general François Decker was quoted by the news publication as saying: "Whey is our fuel.
"It’s quite simply the same as the ingredient in natural yoghurt."
Valbio had initially built another cheese by-product fuelled power plant prototype ten years ago in the country, which is claimed to be the first of its kind.
Following that, 20 other small-scale plants have been developed in Canada, France and other European countries, with more facilities planned in Australia, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay.
A new 800m² power generation facility has been planned in France by Valbio, for which the Union for the Producers of Beaufort have allocated funds of €5m, reports The Independent.
Image: The facility has the capacity to produce about 2.8kWh of power annually. Photo: courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.