• France's news in English
French cheese used to power 1,500 homes
A cheesemaker with some Beaufort cheese. Photo: AFP

French cheese used to power 1,500 homes

The Local · 26 Feb 2016, 12:07

Published: 26 Feb 2016 12:07 GMT+01:00

The French have known for a long time that cheese is the answer to many of life’s problems. But only recently has it been used an alternative energy source - one which supplies a year's electricity for 1,500 people in eastern France.

Producers of Beaufort cheese in the Savoie department have begun recycling the residues left over from cheese production to create new products and produce energy.

Almost 650 dairy farmers from the area have been working since October on innovative ways to re-use their waste. Producing 1kg of Beaufort cheese requires 10 litres of milk, and once the cheese has been made, the farmers are left with nine litres of lactoserum or whey – which up until now they have been forced to sell at a loss.

Reusing the waste to create more produce has opened up new possibilities for the troubled farm industry.

“The idea of the project is to use all that’s left in this whey to turn it into produce – butter, protein powder, ricotta," Yvon Bochet, president of the Beaufort farmers' union, told BFM TV.

Making these whey products creates more residues, including sugar water, which in turn are reused by being sent to a bio-gas plant.

The plant, the only one of its kind in the world, is able to turn 99 percent of the cheese waste into biogas, which creates electricity and hot water for the plant.

The process allows French engineering company Valbio to provide electricity for 1,500 people each year.

And on top of being environmentally friendly, the region’s economy also stands to benefit. Ten new roles have been created to handle the new stages of production, and the industry is estimated to bring in €6 million per year.

Story continues below…



Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French hiker found alive after five nights in Pyrenees hole
Photo: AFP

A "miracle" survival story from the Pyrenees.

How the fuel crisis is harming the French economy
Photos: AFP

Experts are saying the current fuel crisis will have "serious consequences" for French business. Here's how.

France to see 90,000 security staff on patrol at Euro 2016
Members of French riot police take part in a mock terrorist attack exercise at the Georges Pompidou stadium in Valence. Photo: AFP

France has vowed to do "everything possible to avoid a terrorist attack" at the Euro 2016 tournament.

List of French targets found in Adeslam's home
Photo: AFP

Areas of Paris, Marseille and Toulouse were on the list of possible targets for an attack.

The trials and tribulations of moving to rural France
Moving to rural France is not all rosé and cheese. Photo: Philippe Rouzet/Flickr

Moving to rural France can be a dream come true, but it doesn't always work out as planned.

Opinion - Strikes in France
Why the French are right to go on strike
Opinion: Why the French are entirely right to go on strike all the time. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

There are good reasons why the French go on strike a lot.

LATEST: Where in France the petrol shortage is biting
Photo: Essence

The latest estimates say some 4,000 of the country’s 12,000 petrol stations are now out of fuel or running low.

IN PICTURES: The fuel crisis around France
Photo: AFP

The fuel crisis in France has made for some striking photos.

A complete guide to France's (many) upcoming strikes
All photos: AFP

A rundown of all the strikes in France today and in the coming days and weeks. Good luck.

Foreign investment rises in all of Europe except France
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

France is the only country in Europe to have seen a net drop in foreign investment this year...

Opinion: Why the French are absolutely right to go on strike
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Here's why both sides despise France's labour reforms
Who is really to blame for the fuel crisis in France?
How to avoid running out of fuel if you're coming to France
Here are the parts of France hardest hit by the fuel shortages
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
jobs available