First vodka, now ethanol: Dairy Distillery sets its sights on fuel from milk

Members of the MMPA and Omid McDonald (second from right)

Ontario-based Dairy Distillery has already proved you can make amazing things from a “waste” product, through its creation of Vodkow vodka using milk permeate. Now, the company is partnering with the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) to create a milk-made biofuel.

Currently, MMPA runs a facility that produces 14,000 tonnes of permeate per year that’s being used for animal feed.

The plan with this partnership is to build a low-carbon ethanol plant in southwest Michigan that will process its milk permeate into 2.2 million gallons of ethanol, thereby moving the association closer to its carbon reduction goals.

Listen here for an interview with Dairy Distillery founder, Omid McDonald for more on how the project came to be, and why it’s happening in the U.S. but not in Canada:

When blended with transportation fuel, the permeate ethanol will offset 14,500 tonnes of carbon a year, the association says. This offset will reduce the carbon footprint of the milk processed at the existing plant by five per cent.

“I’ve been inspired by MMPA dairy farmers and their commitment to sustainability. Using a milk byproduct to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy is an innovation that will make a significant contribution to MMPA’s net zero carbon emissions goal,” says Dairy Distillery CEO Omid McDonald.

The project comes with a US$40 million price tag, and should be pumping out ethanol by early 2025.

The project received $2.5 million in funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Related: Distillery turns waste milk into tasty spirit

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