Wensleydale Creamery to produce energy from cheese

Iona Capital, a low carbon sustainable fund manager, has secured a deal with the Wensleydale Creamery to produce over 10,000 MWh of energy per year from a by-product of cheese making.

The new feedstock agreement will see Iona’s Leeming Biogas plant in North Yorkshire process whey permeate, a valuable by-product produced during the manufacturing of the world-famous Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and turn it into nearly one million cubic meters of green gas. Using a process called 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 4000 tonnes of cheese every year at its dairy in Hawes in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. The agreement between Iona and the Wensleydale Creamery is part of the development of Iona Capital’s growing portfolio of assets in the North East.

The fund manager has already 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 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Mike Dunn, co-founder of Iona, said: “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. Once we have converted the cheese by-product supplied by Wensleydale into sustainable green gas, we can feed what’s left at the end of the process onto neighbouring 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.”

The Wensleydale Creamery’s managing director, David Hartley, commented on the partnership: “We are delighted to be signing this agreement with Iona Capital and proud to be delivering sustainable environmental and economic benefits to our region. 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. 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 by-product of cheese making into energy that will power hundreds of homes across the region will be fantastic for everyone involved.”