Que. cheesemaker to be fuelled by whey

A Quebec cheese producer has picked up a federal loan for equipment to use its own whey to help power and heat its manufacturing plant.

Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel on Tuesday announced $300,000 in “repayable funding” for Laiterie Charlevoix to become the first Quebec company to use such a system.

The company, based at Baie St-Paul, about 90 km northeast of Quebec City, makes various cheddars and soft cheeses including brands such as L’Hercule, Le Fleurmier and Le 1608.

The funding will flow through the Community Economic Diversification Initiative, operated by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

The Economic Development Agency is one of eight public and non-government agencies, including Farm Credit Canada and others, helping to underwrite the project, which the company values at about $2.3 million.

Laiterie Charlevoix said it’s developed its “Eco-Machine” project over a period of four years in partnership with Magog, Que.-based Valbio Canada.

The project features an anaerobic digestion system to handle whey and “white water” from the cheesemaking process, yielding methane for use as fuel.

“Canada Economic Development feels that Laiterie Charlevoix’s productivity enhancement project has great potential,” Lebel said in Tuesday’s release.

“Thanks to this waste-to-energy system, the dairy will make substantial savings in various areas,” the government said.

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