Veolia has teamed up with R&R Ice Cream and Iona Capital on a project which is injecting biogas produced from ice cream by-products directly into the national gas grid in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire.
The R&R factory, based in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, is the UK’s largest producer of own label ice cream as well as branded products such as Nestlé’s Fab, Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastille lollies and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate sticks – among others.
Veolia explained that the manufacturing waste, which consists of sugar, fat and protein left behind after production line cleansing, is to be transformed into biomethane at a nearby Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility that it operates and is funded by Iona Capital.
According to Veolia, not only is chocolate ice cream one of the nation’s favourite flavours, but it has also emerged as the most powerful flavour for green energy too.
It transpired that chocolate ice cream provides 10% more energy than vanilla, and 20% more energy than strawberry. And if you were to add a chocolate flake to the mix it could boost the energy efficiency by 20%.
To heat the average home for a year using ice cream by-products processed at the plant would require 25 tonnes if it was chocolate 27.5 tonnes if it was vanilla and 30 tonnes if it was strawberry.
“This summer will see the UK’s energy mix take on a new flavour, and a delicious one at that,” joked
Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice president, Veolia UK & Ireland. “Even better, now there’s less reason to feel guilty about that extra mouthful of ice cream because, rest assured, none of production by-product is going to waste, as we are busy creating renewable energy with it.”
On a more serious note she went on to add that the project is a good example of using creative thinking to turn waste into the green energy needed to ensure the UK meets the government’s 2020 targets.
Mike Dunn, director of Iona Capital commented: “Green infrastructure has the government’s backing and it is an area that we are seeing more and more investors taking an interest in. This is especially true with local authority and public sector pension funds who want to show their members they are investing responsibly.”
Veolia noted that the raw material that goes into this facility would otherwise be discarded and sent to landfill, now it is not only avoiding landfill, but the by-product that is leftover at the end of the AD process is a nutrient rich fertiliser that can be distributed to farms to improve crop production.
The company concluded that the facility, which is one of the largest gas-to-grid energy plants in the UK, is now fully functional, and will contribute to the government’s target for 20% of the UK’s energy generation to come from green energy by 2020.
Veolia has signed a five year contract with Lowell Energy AD, managed by Grand Rapids, Michigan based renewable energy project developer, Sustainable Partners (SPART) for the operations and maintenance of its Lowell Energy Anaerobic Digester.
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