• 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
Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Air France plane dumps fuel 'over Fontainebleau forest'
Photo: AFP

The mayor of the famous town near Paris is furious.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
jobs available