- Veolia, in collaboration with Iona Capital, has teamed up with U.K.-based R&R Ice Cream to turn the company's waste byproduct into energy.
- Ice cream byproduct—sugar, fat and protein—is being converted into biomethane by Veolia and used to heat homes through the U.K.'s National Grid. The material would otherwise be sent to a landfill.
- Residual material from the digestion process will be turned into fertilizer and distributed to farms.
R&R's facility in North Yorkshire is the U.K.'s largest producer of own-brand ice cream and also works with companies such as Nestlé, Oreo, and Cadbury. Veolia says that different flavors yield more energy than others due to calorie count. For example, chocolate provides 10% more energy than vanilla and 20% more than strawberry.
While the practice is uncommon, ice cream has been turned into energy before. Most notably, a Unilever facility in the Netherlands, which makes Ben & Jerry's, has an anaerobic flotation reactor called "The Chunkinator" for handling its ice cream waste. Last year, Pennsylvania's Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant also turned 290 tons of recalled Jeni's ice cream into biogas.
Veolia's facility is one of the region's largest gas-to-grid energy plants and will help contribute to the U.K.'s goal of reaching 20% "green energy" by 2020.