Making Ethanol from Cheese? No Whey!

Cindy Zimmerman

Cheesehead Add cheese to the list of commodities that could be used to make ethanol. This AP story is about research into “using a cheese-making byproduct to make ethanol.” That would be whey – as in what Little Miss Muffet ate on her tuffet with curds. According to the article, whey can be made into lactose sugar, which can then be made into ethanol. Whey recycling has been used as a protein supplement in low-carb foods for decades, said Mark Bade, operator of the whey recycling process and waste management facility at Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese in Rudolph. The state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is hawking the potential for whey sugar to be refined and used in ethanol. “Ethanol is hot,” the department’s Robin Engel said. Engel says they are thinking Wisconsin could have three refineries that would produce between 4 million and 7 million gallons of ethanol a year. The state is investing some $5 million in alternative energy research.

Ethanol, Research