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Veolia, Ice Cream Manufacturer Turn Ice Cream Waste into Clean Energy

ice creamChocolate ice cream tastes better than its vanilla counterparts. It’s also better at producing clean energy than other flavors.

Resource management firm Veolia and ice cream manufacturer R&R Ice Cream have teamed up to turn ice cream waste into energy.

An anaerobic digestion (AD) facility funded by Iona Capital and operated by Veolia converts the ice cream sludge — sugar, fat and protein that is left behind after production line cleansing — into biomethane, which is then used to heat homes via the UK’s National Grid.

Veolia explains that chocolate ice cream provides 10 percent more energy than vanilla during the AD process, and 20 percent more energy than strawberry. Adding a chocolate flake to the mix could boost the energy efficiency by 20 percent.

The raw material that goes into AD facility would otherwise be sent to landfill. Not only does this project divert waste, but the by-product that is leftover at the end of the anaerobic digestion process is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used by local farms.

The R&R factory, based in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, is the UK’s largest producer of own label ice cream as well as top brands such as Nestlé’s Fab, Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastille lollies, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate sticks, Oreo ice cream and Yoomoo frozen yogurt.

This isn’t the first project that turns ice cream waste into biogas. Unilever also converts ice cream waste from a Dutch Ben & Jerry’s factory into energy for the factory.

The Veolia gas-to-energy project, one of the region’s largest, will help the UK achieve its government-set goal of  20 percent clean energy by 2020.

Earlier this month Veolia announced it had helped a Michigan waste-to-energy facility maximize its 800KW power output capacity and signed a contract with the plant’s owner for continued operations and maintenance.

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