Science & Technology
France uses cheese to generate electricity
December 20, 2015 | 4 comments
Cheese represents a unique and renewable energy source. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Holger Reichardt
A novel new method of power generation is being tested out at a power station in the French Alps.
Cheese might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to generating electricity, but now a unique new type of power station in France has actually succeeded in using the popular dairy product to produce enough power for more than 1,500 homes in Albertville, Savoie.
The unorthodox power station works by turning skimmed whey - a by-product of Beaufort cheese - in to a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide by adding bacteria to it.
The resulting gas is then fed in to an engine which heats water up to 90 degrees and is capable of producing as much as 2.8 million kilowatt-hours per year - enough to keep the whole town running.
"Whey is our fuel," said FranÁois Decker, director of Valbio which designed and built the power station. "Itís quite simply the same as the ingredient in natural yoghurt."
Additional stations are also set to be built in Australia, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay in the near future.
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