Ice cream manufacturer R&R Ice Cream has joined an “innovative project”, in collaboration with Iona Capital and resource management company Veolia, in which ice cream by-product is being turned into biogas for the National Grid.
The by-product – consisting of sugar, fat and protein – is left behind after production line cleansing, and will be transformed into biomethane to be pumped back into the National Grid to heat UK homes.
R&R factory’s in North Yorkshire is the UK’s largest producer of own-label ice cream as well as brands such as Nestlé’s Fab, Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastille lollies, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate sticks, Oreo ice cream and Yoomoo frozen yogurt.
The transformation process, Veolia said, resembles the human body burning calories, and as such different flavours of ice cream amount to different levels of energy. Chocolate ice cream provides 10% more energy than vanilla, and 20% more than strawberry.
Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president of 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.”
The raw material that goes into this facility would otherwise be discarded and sent to landfill; not only is it now avoiding landfill, the by-product left over at the end of the anaerobic digestion process is a nutrient-rich fertiliser that can be distributed to farms to improve crop production.
The facility, which is one of the largest gas-to-grid energy plants in the UK, is now fully functional, and will contribute to the government’s target for 20% of the UK’s energy generation to come from green energy by 2020.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023