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Müllermilch: Topping-out ceremony for bio-fuel facility

Pressreleases, 18. July 2007

The Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller is right on schedule: The shell construction for the production of bio-ethanol from molasses, a waste product of whey, is almost completed. This opens the way for the annual production of 10 million litres of the bio-fuel additive from 2008.

(Leppersdorf, 18 July 2007) The Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller is right on schedule: The shell construction for the production of bio-ethanol from molasses, a waste product of whey, is almost completed. This opens the way for the annual production of 10 million litres of the bio-fuel additive from 2008.

Today Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller, headquartered in Leppersdorf in Saxony, is celebrating the topping-out ceremony for its new bio-ethanol facility, which is set to manufacture bio-fuel from the whey-based waste product molasses. “With this technology, we are taking a further step in our independence from fossil sources. Bio-ethanol is a fuel with a promising future”, emphasised Saxony’s State Secretary for Environment and Agriculture Stanislaw Tillich. An important plus is that this process requires no agricultural expanses.

The production of bio-ethanol from molasses, the partially desugared permeate that accumulates during the manufacture of lactose, is a new procedure. “This innovation provides us with an alternative for the production of biomass-based fuel. From 2008, we expect to produce 10 million litres of bio-ethanol. This makes us a forerunner in all of Germany”, says Stefan Müller, CEO of the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller. The Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller is investing 20 million euros in the construction of the new production line at its Leppersdorf location. “Of course we would like this new facility to generate a good profit”, explains Müller. Direct sale to end customers is not planned.

The production method used for bio-ethanol is as simple as it is efficient: The manufacture of cheese gives rise to the liquid by-product whey, from which protein and lactose are separated. Until now, the residual molasses has been used as a foodstuff additive or was disposed of.  Now, through the addition of yeast, the by-product is fermented to alcohol and, in a distillation plant, the water and minerals are separated out. In the end, the method yields bio-ethanol that is 98.8 per cent pure and that can be used as a fuel source without any further processing. “The tightest safety measures are in force during the entire procedure, and a strict separation from our food production capacities is observed,” emphasises Müller. 

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