Country Fresh Dairy operates a dairy processing plant that currently produces 175,000 gallons of whey per week. This whey is a waste product, and Country Fresh presently pays hog farmers to take away the whey to use as hog feed. Currently, Country Fresh Dairy is unable to dispose of this whey through the Wyoming Clean Water Plant (CWP), located in Wyoming, MI, due to its high phosphorus and BOD (biological oxygen demand) content. The CWP is interested in providing a disposal method for this whey that will be beneficial to both Country Fresh and the CWP. The disposal method that Whey to React will be studying consists of fermenting said whey into volatile fatty acids (VFAs). The CWP would then use the fermented whey as a source of VFAs, which will ultimately help stabilize the biological phosphorus removal process (Bio-P) used by the plant, which has undergone failure in the past.
Whey to React’s objective is to create a preliminary design for a whey fermenter to be located on the Wyoming Clean Water Plant’s (CWP) campus in Wyoming, MI. The fermentation process will maximize the volatile fatty acid (VFA) production from the fermentation process in the shortest possible amount of time. Maximum VFA production is the key to stabilizing the CWP’s biological phosphorus removal process (Bio-P), as these VFAs are food for microorganisms which dispose of the whey. Whey to React will also consider other design alternatives, including location of the fermenter, methods of transporting the whey from Country Fresh to the CWP, and piping materials and methods.