You might indulge in some chocolate ice cream when you need to cool down.

But the treat is so calorific the energy it produces can actually be used to heat homes, scientists have discovered.

It was found to generate 10 per cent more energy than vanilla ice cream and 20 per cent more than strawberry in tests to establish whether leftovers from the production process could be used as fuel.

The findings are now being put into practice by manufacturer R&R Ice Cream, which is based in North Yorkshire and makes supermarket own-brand treats. The leftover sludge of sugar, fat and protein is collected when production lines are cleaned at the factory in Leeming Bar, and used to be thrown into landfill.


But now it is being processed at a nearby plant to make biogas - fuel produced by organic matter - which is then fed into the national grid to be used in homes for heating and cooking.

Scientists produce the energy by harnessing the calories in the ice cream mix in a similar way to how they are burned in the human body.

Estelle Brachlianoff from Veolia UK, which runs the plant, said: "Now there's less reason to feel guilty about that extra mouthful of ice cream because none of the by-product goes to waste, as we are busy creating energy with it.

"This project is a prime example of using creative thinking to turn waste into energy."

Different amounts of each ice cream flavour are needed to produce the same levels of energy because they have different calorie contents.

To heat a typical UK home for a year, it would take 25 tons of chocolate ice cream by-product, compared with 27.5 tons of vanilla and 30 tons of strawberry.