Your Next Tank of Gas Could Have Milk Byproducts in It

Who knew you could make vodka and fuel out of milk byproducts?

byNico DeMattia|
via Getty Images
via Getty Images.


Cows are awesome. They give us milk, they give is beef, and now they might even help give us more carbon friendly fuel. Well, not directly. Michigan dairy farmers are partnering with a Canadian milk distillery to create ethanol out of a milk byproduct called milk permeate, according to Auto News.

Milk permeate is a sugar water removed from milk during processing and Ontario-based Dairy Distillery worked with the University of Ottawa to create a process of fermenting it. The distillery normally uses that process to make a milk-based vodka, called Vodkow. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Dairy Distillery even used milk permeate to make hand sanitizer for the local community. More recently, however, Dairy Distillery founder Omid McDonald realized that milk permeate-based ethanol could have other applications.

“So there’s only so much vodka people can drink and there’s so much of this stuff out there," McDonald told WOOD TV 8, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "We said, ‘Well what other high-volume uses are out there?’ and that’s when we started looking at biofuel.”

via Getty Images

The Michigan Milk Producers Association created a joint venture with Dairy Distillery, which plans to build a 30,000 square-foot processing plant, to turn milk permeate into ethanol for cars. According to Craine's Detroit Business, this facility could make up to 2.2 million gallons of ethanol per year.

"Lot of people are down on dairy for its environmental aspects," McDonald said. "We can eliminate that impact and so people can enjoy the dairy products that they love knowing that the environmental impact is minimized,” McDonald said. According to McDonald, ethanol can displace up to 14,000 tons of carbon emissions per year.

This isn't the only emissions-friendly fuel technology on the market, as several companies are using different carbon capture technologies to make carbon-neutral fuel. However, this might be one of the most interesting.

Got tips? Send 'em over to