Turning ice cream into energy
Ben & Jerry’s pride themselves on making the best possible ice cream in the nicest possible way, and in the small Dutch town of Hellendoorn, The Chunkinator is helping them to do just that.
The Chunkinator - or to give it its full name, the BIOPAQ®AFR Biodigester - is an anaerobic flotation reactor. Ice cream waste is fed into its tank, where 24 billion natural micro-organisms break down the particles, turning them into biogas. The biogas is then used in the factory’s GreEnergy project, which acts like a battery by insulating water at the correct temperatures for ice cream creation and dramatically reducing the need for natural gas to heat the plant.
So far, The Chunkinator has produced power to make over 16 million pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. That’s enough containers to stretch from Land’s End to John o’Groats with 300 miles to spare!
Head Engineer Arjan Vloon says: “The Chunkinator gives Ben & Jerry’s the opportunity to take what had been a waste product and turn it into a benefit for our business – producing our own energy!”
Incredible inventions like The Chunkinator are the future of renewable energy. With new and exciting ways to produce energy, we can become less reliant on fossil fuels, which release greenhouses gases and contribute to global warming.
Ben & Jerry’s has been offsetting carbon emissions for nearly a dozen years through new renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and solar energy projects. The Chunkinator is just the latest in a long-running series of projects that helps to make Ben & Jerry’s even more in-sync with the environment.