Beaufort cheese

There is more to cheese than surrender monkeys eating it

Those cunning Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys, otherwise known as the French, have found another use for cheese, other than easing the hunger pangs after a long day marching backwards.

Generating electricity from cheese could be the plot of an Asterix comic book, but that is exactly what is happening at a new power plant in the French Alps.

A by-product of Beaufort cheese, skimmed whey, is converted into biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, at the plant in Albertville, in Savoie.

Bacteria are added to the whey to produce the gas, which is then used to generate electricity that is sold to the energy company EDF.

“Whey is our fuel,” said François Decker of Valbio, the company that designed and built the power station, which opened in October. “It’s quite simply the same as the ingredient in natural yoghurt.”

After full-fat milk is used to make Beaufort cheese, whey and cream are left over. The cream is taken to make ricotta cheese, butter and protein powder, which is used as a food supplement.    Read more »