New York, you’re already fueled by Greek yogurt. Turns out, it’s in more whey than one.
Let me explain:
In order to produce 1 gallon of Greek yogurt, it takes 4 gallons of milk. Beyond that, to pump up protein in the yogurt, Chobani and Fage are mixing in acid whey protein. After the yogurt is produced, this leaves 3 gallons of watery-whey byproduct behind. The byproduct is non-toxic, but hey, it’s gotta go somewhere.
So, manufacturers are using it in 2 wheys (Pun intended):
- As fertilizer for the surrounding dairy farms
- Converting whey to methane gas, which creates electricity when it’s burned…(whey cool!)
Here’s how the electricity comes from yogurt:
- Whey byproduct is pipelined to a local wastewater plant
- In the plant, it’s mixed with anaerobic bacteria in a gigantic tank. This is called a “digester”
- The outcome of this process is methane gas, which is a combustible fuel
- The methane gas is burned, and produces electricity
- Surprisingly, it is almost enough electricity to power the entire plant
So New York, your Greek yogurt is not only fueling breakfast, but also fueling the electricity grid.
Note: According to the EIA, the change in bio-fuels (which whey falls under) is negligible over the past 2 years. Not surprisingly, this means that yogurt is not a major source of energy. However, as this process becomes more popular, and more digesters are converting whey byproduct, we might see a better whey to produce electricity.