Whey to go

Dunphy Combustion has recently completed construction of a carbon neutral installation which generates energy from cheese waste for a major dairy factory in Wels, Austria.

Landfrisch Molkerei approached Dunphy’s engineers in Austria and asked if a design could be developed through which the whey permeate left over from the cheese making process could be turned into fuel to power the steam processing plant.

Dunphy’s UK design engineers produced a dual gas fired burner that primarily uses biogas extracted from the cheese whey by an anaerobic digester. Around 1.13 million cubic metres of biogas will be produced annually, the equivalent of around 0.8 million cubic metres of natural gas.

Rochdale-headquartered Dunphy designed the burner as a multifuel unit which will automatically switch to natural gas should the supply of waste generated fuel be interrupted.

Due to the biological process involved in producing the whey based fuel, the energy value can vary significantly. The burner was fitted with a fast response fuel trim system using an integrated Ratiotronic direct digital combustion control system. This system ensures safe and immediate management of each fuel through a dedicated control channel.

The axial air flow burner is consistently achieving a high turndown ratio which is crucial to maintaining a fuel flow temperature within a 1oC range, irrespective of load requirements.

Managing director, Sharon Kuligowski, said: ‘We have a great deal of experience in designing and manufacturing carbon neutral combustion systems using brewery and other food wastes as well as various recoverable organic sludges. Once we had tested samples of the permeate derived fuel in our Rochdale labs, we were able to design and build a burner which would operate efficiently within the very specific viscosity, particle and calorific values of the two fuels. Our Austrian customer is delighted with the results.’