The debate over how we should generate the electricity we need is often hugely controversial. Do we really need to frack for oil? Is nuclear the answer, or just more problems? So it is perhaps welcome news that a new energy solution has emerged. Cheese.
Clearfleau has today announced that it will be constructing the UK's first anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that will convert bio-degradable residues from cheese production into biogas.
The plant, which will be built at the cheese creamery in Aspatria, Cumbria, will feed this "bio-methane" into the gas grid, where gas-plants can in turn convert it into electricity. It will apparently generate 1000 cubic meters of biogas every day - or around 5MW of thermal energy. By comparison, Drax, the UK's largest power station has a capacity of 3906MW. So perhaps we shouldn't throw away all of the coal just yet.
As Ars Technica notes, while around 60% of this gas will be used to power the creamery, the rest of the electricity will be made available to other local businesses. Ars reckons it could conceivably power 1600 homes thanks to the cheese.
Still, as a relatively environmentally friendly means of producing power, the new plant can expect to receive around £2m in subsidies every year for the next 20 years - and generate a further £3m in revenue. And we imagine that people working there will never be short of cheese too. [Ars Technica]