Gunzesried alpine dairy - Utilising whey to generate energy

A dairy cooperative used LEADER support to set up a biorefinery plant for recovering energy from whey.

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Project summary: 

The Gunzesried dairy cooperative was founded in 1892. Today, the cooperative processes about 1.3 million litres of milk annually into 135 tonnes of hard, cut and soft cheese, as well as drinking milk and ice cream. The cooperative members were confronted with the issue of how to dispose their whey. The solution they came up with was to use the whey for energy recovery by generating gas from anaerobic bacteria fermentation. Support from the LEADER measure was used to construct a whey biorefinery plant that is monitored automatically. The plant operates all year round, providing a long-term solution to the problem of disposing of whey.

Project results: 

According to the manufacturer, approx. 30 000 m³ of gas with an energy of 6.7 kw/m³ are accrued, which is equivalent to an annual output of 200 000 kW. This is equivalent to the current consumption of 20 000 litres of fuel oil used each year.
Furthermore, it is also possible to cut  CO2 emissions by 5.6 tonnes per year. This massively reduces the cooperative’s carbon footprint and at the same time its members are less affected by rising energy costs.