The Economist: Cheese might seem an unlikely candidate as the next big thing in renewable energy, but a Greek researcher has discovered a way to generate electricity from one of the major waste products of cheese manufacture – whey.
Whey constitutes around 70% of the volume of milk and is an often costly by-product of cheese manufacture as its biological nature requires treatment before disposal. However the microbial content of whey makes it perfect for use in microbial fuel cells.
In microbial fuel cells, bacteria carry out the catalytic reactions in the fuel chamber, metabolising the fuel and producing nature chemical reactions that generate a current.
Greek microbial engineer Dr Georgia Antonopoulou has shown it is possible to get almost as much power from raw whey as it is from refined fuel, if the whey is diluted and the microbial balance of the whey carefully managed, The Economist reports. Read more here.