Wastewater provides ice cream factory with green energy

BALK, Netherlands, Jan. 14, 2011 -- Unilever, together with Paques, started the construction of a bio-digester at its Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands, which will convert waste into green energy...

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BALK, Netherlands, Jan. 14, 2011 -- Unilever, together with Paques, started the construction of a bio-digester at its Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, the Netherlands. In the bio-digestion process, waste products that are released during the production of ice cream are converted into energy. The bio-digester from Paques will cover 40% of the ice cream factory's green energy requirements. In addition, building the bio-digester fits in perfectly with the further implementation of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan aimed at reducing the production of waste and the consumption of water and energy. The bio-digester is expected to become operational mid 2011.

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3D artist impression.
After a successful test period, Unilever has opted for a new type of bio-digester from Paques, the BIOPAQ®AFR, in which natural micro-organisms (in this case more than 24 billiard (24·1015) little bugs!) 'eat' waste products and convert them into biogas. In this system, wastewater is purified by converting waste products from ice cream production such as milk, cream, proteins, syrups and pieces of fruit into biogas.

The BIOPAQ®AFR is an innovation in the field of purification of fat-containing wastewater. What's unique about it is that wastewater streams that contain fat and oil are treated/digested in one compact reactor, together with degradable particles, whereas in conventional systems this is only possible by going through a number of processing stages.

The construction of the bio-digester started in autumn 2010. Unilever is one of the fist companies worldwide with such a bio-digester.

About Paques
Biotechnology that purifies water and gas is Paques' profession. Revitalizing resources is our motto. Paques helps companies to contribute to the major challenges of today: to reduce water and carbon footprints and reclaim valuable resources. Paques' anaerobic water purification systems produce energy from wastewater, whilst purifying the water and facilitating water reuse. The biogas produced in the purifying process is a source of green energy. Since the introduction of our first BIOPAQ® reactor in 1981, close cooperation with our partners has resulted in a broad portfolio for integrated water and gas treatment. Paques' technologies have proven to be cost- effective and reliable solutions.

Paques offers a broad range of services, ranging from feasibility studies, consultancy and engineering to mechanical and electrical contracting. The portfolio for water treatment is wide and includes flexible anaerobic treatment, aerobic treatment, (biological) sand filtration, nitrogen removal, sulphate removal, phosphate recovery and removal and metal removal. For (bio)gas treatment, Paques offers a very efficient desulphurisation technology. Customers of Paques are active in virtually every municipal and industrial market, such as food and beverages, pulp and paper, biofuels, metal and mining and chemicals. Web: www.paques.nl

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