Ice cream waste creating green energy this summer

Ice cream waste creating green energy this summerOn days like today, it’s hard not to succumb to a nice, cold ice cream, but a Yorkshire-based ice cream manufacturer is reducing the guilt of those hot weather-induced snacks by using leftovers from the ice cream manufacturing process to produce electricity.

Leeming Bar-based R&R Ice Cream, the producer of brands such as Skinny Cow, Kelly’s of Cornwall, and Nestlé Fabs and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate sticks, has teamed up with waste management company Veolia and Iona Capital, a company that funds renewable energy projects, to turn these by-products into biogas using an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility.

As part of the project, waste produced from cleansing the ice cream production line, which consists of sugar, fat and protein, will be sent to one of the largest gas-to-grid facilities instead of going directly to landfill. It will then be converted to biomethane, a gas that can be burned to produce electricity.

The resulting electricity will be sent to the National Grid to power UK homes and will contribute to the government-set green energy target of 20 per cent by 2020. The leftovers from the AD process can then be used as fertiliser to grow crops.

Interestingly, according to Veolia, chocolate ice cream by-products produce higher amounts of energy than their counterparts, producing 10 per cent more energy than vanilla and 20 per cent more than strawberry.

This means it would take 25 tonnes of chocolate by-product, 27.5 tonnes of vanilla by-product or 30 tonnes of strawberry by-product to produce enough gas to heat the average home for a whole year.

So, if you’re going to have that ice cream, make it chocolate and pop a chocolate flake in there too as this could also boost the energy efficiency provided by your ice cream by 20 per cent!

‘Using creative thinking to turn waste into green energy’

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice President, Veolia UK & Ireland, said: “This summer will see the UK’s energy mix take on a new flavour, and a delicious one at that. And 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.

“This project is a prime example of using creative thinking to turn waste into green energy. It’s innovation like this that is needed to ensure the UK meets the government’s 2020 targets, and something we’re hoping to build on.”

Mike Dunn, Director of Iona Capital, added: “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.”