Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic American ice cream brand, has teamed up with Paques, a biotechnology company, to install a bio-digester in their Hellendoorn ice cream factory in the Netherlands. The new bio-digester will take excess food product that is wasted during the making of ice cream and turn it into power to provide energy for the factory. The bio-digester will cover 40% of the factory’s green energy requirements — will it make the ice cream 40% more delicious too?

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Unilever — Ben & Jerry’s parent company — has introduced a Sustainable Living Plan aimed at reducing the production of waste and the consumption of water and energy in all of its product lines. This new bio-digester, which will become operational this year, will help with reducing waste, water and energy from the Netherlands factory.

The bio-digester that Ben & Jerry’s is installing is Paques’ BIOPAQ®AFR which utilizes billions of little microorganisms that eat waste products and release biogas as a byproduct. In addition to taking in excess food products the system can purify waste water as well. The bio-digester is unique because it uses just one compact reactor that can treat water, oils, and excess food product in one place instead of a series of complex reactors that each work on a piece of the larger puzzle. This makes the generator more compact and efficient than other options. It almost makes us want to go to the Netherlands to see if their Ben & Jerry’s tastes better than ours. Ice cream powered by ice cream has to be delicious.


Imagine the kind of place the world would be if every factory could be powered by excess ice cream! In all seriousness, though, Ben & Jerry’s new bio-digester is a win-win because it makes use of surplus food product that would otherwise go to waste and it’s a cleaner alternative to powering the factory with oil or coal.

+ Read more about the Paques bio-digester

Via Clean Technica