Savoy, a region in the French Alps, is famous for its food — namely its cheeses, some of which have been made in the area since the 13th century.
But now, according to the Independent, one Alpine power station is using the region’s famous cheese in an unexpected way — to generate enough electricity to supply power for a community of 1,500 people.
Technically, the power station — located in Albertville in the southeastern part of France — uses whey, a byproduct leftover from the production of the town’s famous Beaufort cheese. Whey is the liquid that is released from the curds during the cheese-making process, and it’s the same liquid that often rises to the top of yogurt products. It is mostly water, but is also contains things like proteins and milk sugars. It’s incidental to most cheese-making processes — the curds are what eventually becomes the finished cheese product — and is often considered a waste product by cheese makers. Unfortunately for cheese producers, the process of making cheese results in a lot of residual whey — for every pound of cheese, a producer is normally left with about a gallon of whey.
Source: Natasha Geiling, Think Progress, January 8, 2016