Hellendoorn is a quaint little town in the Dutch province of Overijssel. It may not be widely known by ice cream eaters around the globe, but we think it’s about time that changed. After all, Hellendoorn is where you’ll find The Chunkinator, a magical reactor that turns ice cream waste into energy.
Ok. You got us. Maybe The Chunkinator isn’t magical in the literal sense of the word. There are no magic wands, and it doesn’t pull rabbits out of hats. What it does do though, is make Ben & Jerry’s the first ice cream company in the world to power one of its plants using ice cream bi-products. And if that’s not magic, we’ll go right ahead and call it science.
The Chunkinator’s real name is the BIOPAQ®AFR Biodigester and, as you probably already guessed, it’s an anaerobic flotation reactor. It has a tank that holds 24 billion natural micro-organisms whose job is to turn waste and wastewater into biogas that helps run the plant.
We could go on and on about how awesome this whole thing is, and how The Chunkinator fits into the factory’s GreEnergy Project, but let’s take a step back and hear what Head Engineer, Arjan Vloon, has to say:
The Chunkinator gives Ben & Jerry’s the opportunity to take what had been a waste product and turn it into a benefit for our business – producing our own energy!”
If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that Arjan Vloon gets excited about all the right stuff. To date, The Chunkinator has produced the power to make over 16 million pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. That’s enough containers to stretch from New York City to Florida!
At Ben & Jerry’s, we pride ourselves on making the best possible ice cream in the nicest way possible. And, with The Chunkinator paving our path to a renewable future, the best possible way just keeps getting better!