Wensleydale Cheese waste to produce 'green' gas


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The cheese was awarded Protected Geographical Indication status in 2013

Waste from producing a cheese, immortalised by the animated Wallace and Gromit films, is to help power hundreds of homes.

The Wensleydale Creamery has signed a deal to supply whey from its factory in the Yorkshire Dales to a biogas plant.

It will then be broken down to produce gas in a process called anaerobic digestion.

It prevents food waste being allowed to rot in landfill where it produces carbon-rich methane, the company said.

The Wensleydale Creamery produces 4,000 tonnes of cheese a year at its dairy in Hawes, North Yorkshire.

The white, crumbly cheese was first made by Cistercian monks in the 12th Century but was not produced on a commercial scale until the 1890s.

Its recent popularity was partially driven by its appearance in the animated Wallace and Gromit TV and film series as the preferred cheese of Wallace.

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The cheese gained publicity through the Wallace and Gromit animations

The company said the deal with Iona Capital, which owns the biogas plant in Leeming, North Yorkshire, would produce around 10,000 MWh of thermal power – enough energy to heat 800 homes.

David Hartley, the company’s managing director, said: “The whole process of converting local milk to premium cheese and then deriving environmental and economic benefit from the natural by-products is an essential part of our business plan as a proud rural business.”

Iona Capital has nine anaerobic digestion facilities across Yorkshire and claims the plants help save the equivalent of 37,300 tonnes of CO2 each year.

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