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Gefu Produktions AG

When faced with a surplus of milk sugar, one enterprising

milk processing plant – Gefu Produktions AG – saw an opportunity to generate onsite electricity and heat. Using 12 Capstone CR65 MicroTurbines® installed in a combined heat and power (CHP) application, Gefu today converts waste produced during processing to generate onsite electricity and heat.

Centrally located in Switzerland between the Swiss Plateau and the Alps, Gefu caters to the numerous farmers that dot the country’s scenic landscape. Gefu collects whey concentrate, a milk byproduct, from the Swiss dairies and uses an ultrafiltration process to separate out the whey protein. But as the usable protein is extracted, waste milk sugar remains.

“We didn’t know exactly what to do with the milk sugar

years ago,” said Toni Habermacher, Production Manager of Gefu Produktions AG. “So, five years ago we decided to build a biogas plant to use the milk sugar as energy, and use the biogas in microgas turbines to produce electric energy.”

All of the whey protein created at Gefu is redistributed back to the farms to use as cattle feed.

“The main point behind this idea was to produce cattle feed without using or producing CO2,” Habermacher added. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it if we hadn’t built the biogas plant, and if we hadn’t chosen the Capstone microturbines, a new steamer, and hot air for spray drying plant.”

Not only is it one of the largest biogas plants in Switzerland,

it is also one of the most efficient, with overall efficiency levels exceeding 90 percent. “That (combination) gives us the efficiency, and that makes us the leader in producing cattle feed without CO2,” Habermacher said.

At a glance


Rickenbach, Lucerne, Switzerland


December 2010


Biogas from milk sugar fermentation.


• Twelve CR65 Capstone microturbines.


• Gefu Produktions AG, a milk processing plant catering to farmers in central Switzerland.


• Twelve Capstone CR65 microturbines installed in a CHP application are fueled by waste milk sugar.

• Installation allows clean-and-green production of cattle feed without using or producing CO2.

• Produces about 6.5 Gigawatt Hours (GWh) of electricity each year, enough to power 1,500 households.

• Overall operating ef ciency exceeds 90%.

• Surplus power produced by the microturbine

system is fed back into the local grid.

• Site is responsible for a 1.7% reduction

of CO2 emissions in Switzerland that is required under the Kyoto Protocol.

Image | Manufacturing Gefu Produktions AG

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