Monday, March 27, 2006

Converting Cheese Waste to Ethanol...

I heard this tidbit on NPR this morning and you can read the press release at No Whey!, from the "Wisconsin Ag Connection."

With a little $29,000 state agricultural grant, a Wisconsin company has successfully tested technology that converts cheese waste into renewable energy.

Cheese whey permeate is a by-product of the cheese-making process which currently costs the cheese-makers quite a bit to dispose of. The new process converts cheese whey permeate into ethanol, creating at the same time a high-nutrition cattle feed. I think they are left, then, with salt and water.

"State agriculture officials say the cheese waste to ethanol technology could save cheese makers millions of dollars annually in disposal costs."

This isn't the first such conversion. For instance:
(February, 2001) The Golden Cheese Company, a division of Dairy Farmers of America, is located in Corona, California and employs 375 people. They process 5 million pounds of milk per day into cheese. Cheese whey, a residual product of this process, is then converted into ethanol. While Golden Cheese had produced ethanol for over 10 years beginning in the mid-1980s, production had been halted due to the lack of an ethanol market in California. More.

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