Wensleydale Creamery, UK, partnered with Iona Capital, a UK-based environmental fund manager, to produce over 10,000 MWh of energy per year from a byproduct of cheesemaking.

The new feedstock agreement will see Iona’s Leeming Biogas plant in North Yorkshire process whey permeate, a byproduct produced during the manufacturing of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, and turn it into nearly 1 million cubic meters of green gas. Using anaerobic digestion, the venture will in turn produce 10,000 MWh of thermal power, enough to heat 800 homes per year.

The Wensleydale Creamery, producer of Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, produces 4,000 tons of cheese every year at its dairy in Hawes.

Iona Capital established nine anaerobic digestion facilities across Yorkshire, investing £100m in the region, as well as opening its York office in June 2018. The renewable energy plants save the equivalent of 37,300 tons of CO2 each year.

“This partnership with Wensleydale not only shows how we are turning waste food products into useful energy for homes and business, but also our commitment to Yorkshire,” says Mike Dunn, co-founder of Iona Capital. “Once we have converted the cheese byproduct supplied by Wensleydale into sustainable green gas, we can feed what’s left at the end of the process onto neighboring farmland to improve local topsoil quality. This shows the real impact of the circular economy and the part intelligent investment can play in reducing our CO2 emissions.”

“We are delighted to be signing this agreement with Iona Capital, and proud to be delivering sustainable environmental and economic benefits to our region,” adds David Hartley, managing director of Wensleydale Creamery. “The whole process of converting local milk to premium cheese and then deriving environmental and economic benefit from the natural byproducts is an essential part of our business plan as a proud rural business. It is only possible as a result of significant and continued investments in our Wensleydale Creamery at Hawes, and to sign this agreement and have the opportunity to convert a valuable byproduct of cheesemaking into energy that will power hundreds of homes across the region will be fantastic for everyone involved.”