Lactalis unveils solar thermal power plant for sustainable whey production

The new site, named โ€˜Lactosolโ€™, aims to address sustainability issues by reducing the company’s carbon footprint and will supply heat to its adjacent Verdun site for the next 25 years.

The Verdun site produces whey powder, obtained by drying whey (lactoserum) that is supplied for use in infant, clinical and sports nutrition products.ย Officially opened in November 2021โ€‹, in collaboration with renewable thermal energy pioneer Newheat, the drying tower at the Verdun site was initially fed by a gas boiler.

โ€œAfter the major renovations of the Verdun site and the inauguration of the new drying tower in 2021, it was essential to continue our transformation by focusing on reducing our energy footprint,โ€ saidย Jean-Luc Bordeau, managing director of Lactalis Ingredients.ย 

Solar heat for the futureโ€‹ย 

The new Lactosol solar thermal power plant covers 15,000 square meters and boasts a maximum power output of approximately 13 MWth.ย Equipped with a 3,000 square meter storage tank, capable of storing several days worth of heat production, the facility works to ensure a continuous supply even during night and cloudy days.

This approach allows the Verdun site to cut its CO2 emissions by a reported 2,000 tons per year, equating to 7% of the site’s total emissions.ย 

By incorporating solar thermal energy into its operations, Lactalis aims to reduce gas consumption by 6% at the Verdun site, with further plans to install a biomass boiler by 2026, replacing nearly 50% of gas consumption with renewable energy.

Lactalis whey powder processโ€‹ย 

The company produces whey powders through cheese manufacturing, by skimming and concentrating the byproduct before being spray dried.ย 

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