Electricity From Greek Yogurt Leftovers

imageAmazing as it sounds, Greek yogurt leftovers in New York are being used for power generation, according to CTV. The production of more Greek yogurt has meant more whey, a watery byproduct from the process. Yogurt makers commonly ship it back to farms to be used as feed and fertilizer, while it’s also used to generate power in several places.

At the Gloversville-Johnstown waste-water plant west of Albany, it’s pipe-lined from the nearby Fage yogurt plant, where it goes into a 1.5 million-gallon tank filled with anaerobic bacteria, called an anaerobic digester. The methane gas which then results, becomes combustible fuel that generates nearly enough electricity to power the plant.

As consultant George Bevington stated, “If the generators are off, we have a $500,000 a year electric bill. So 90 per cent of that is kind of offset by this kind of generation,” he said.

As CTV news also reported, New York has definitely benefited from America’s increased craving for Greek yogurt like nowhere else. Market leaders, Chobani and Fage, both have large production plants upstate, an area with plants that produce different types of yogurt.

Currently, there are at least a couple of municipal waste-water treatment plants that take in whey. Aside from the Johnstown-Gloversville, the plant in Ithaca takes in as well a smaller amount of whey from Fage. Therefore, Bevington expects more treatment plants to take it in as it seems to be gaining momentum.