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Yogurt Fuel

December 19, 2017

The byproducts of Greek yogurt could be turned into jet fuel.

Transcript

Could the byproducts of Greek yogurt production power jet engines? (Pixabay)

Could the byproducts of Greek yogurt production power jet engines? (Pixabay)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Yogurt-powered fuel. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Greek yogurt is popular these days because it’s both delicious and full of protein. But producing it creates large amounts of food waste. Now, researchers report in the journal Joule that they’ve developed microbial bioreactors that turn this waste into bio oil to feed livestock or even convert it into jet fuel.

LARS ANGENENT (University of Tübingen):

My job is to try to make something useful out of waste and recover everything.

HIRSHON

That’s University of Tübingen applied microbiologist Lars Angenent. He says making Greek yogurt creates a byproduct called “acid whey” which contains lots of lactose milk sugar.  

ANGENENT:

You really don’t want that in the yogurt. And this is the sugar we converted into lactic acid and from lactic acid into these bio oils. 

HIRSHON:

Angenent says the next step is to scale the process up for commercialization. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard