Ben and Jerry's Scoops Up Green Ice Cream

An ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, will get a bio-digester to treat wastewater.

Unilever and Paques have begun construction of a bio-digester at the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands. Waste products released during the production of ice cream will be converted into energy, comprising 40 percent of the ice cream factory's green energy requirements.
Building the bio-digester is part of the implementation of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan, aimed at reducing the waste production and water and energy consumption.

After a test period, Unilever has opted for a new type of bio-digester from Paques, the BIOPAQ AFR, in which more than 24,000 billion natural microorganisms ‘eat' waste products and convert them into biogas. In this system, wastewater is purified by converting waste products from ice cream production – milk, cream, proteins, syrups and pieces of fruit – into biogas.

The BIOPAQ AFR treats/digests wastewater streams that contain fat and oil in one compact reactor together with degradable particles. In conventional systems, however, this is only possible by going through a number of processing stages.

The construction of the bio-digester started in autumn 2010.

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