Greek Yogurt Is Whey Cool

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):

  1. As fertilizer for the surrounding dairy farms
  2. Converting whey to methane gas, which creates electricity when it’s burned…(whey cool!)

Here’s how the electricity comes from yogurt:

  1. Whey byproduct is pipelined to a local wastewater plant
  2. In the plant, it’s mixed with anaerobic bacteria in a gigantic tank. This is called a “digester”
  3. The outcome of this process is methane gas, which is a combustible fuel
  4. The methane gas is burned, and produces electricity
  5. 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.cow-4

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