Wastewater Treatment Plant Producing Renewable Energy

EcoVolt solutions are the world’s first industrial-scale, bioelectrically-enhanced wastewater treatment and reuse systems. EcoVolt units can easily be implemented at breweries, wineries, and other food and beverage processing plants to clean wastewater at the source while generating clean energy and clean water. The energy is fed back into the plant in the form of electricity and heat, helping to decrease the plant’s net energy demand and turning a typical environmental liability into a source of cost savings.

One of the first deployments of an EcoVolt solution was at the California-based Bear Republic Brewing Company. It uses electrically-active microbes to rapidly remove 80 to 90% of the biological oxygen demand in the wastewater. The process also produces a renewable biogas that is used to generate electricity and heat. With combined heat and power cogeneration, an EcoVolt installation can generate anywhere from 30 to 200 kW of energy, according to the company.

In late 2015, Cambrian launched the Water-Energy Purchase Agreement (WEPA) for wastewater treatment as a service. Lagunitas, an American craft beer brewery, became the first to sign a WEPA. Cambrian estimates that the WEPA will save the brewery $22.5 million in wastewater, water, and energy costs over its lifetime.

Why you should care

Drought is an increasing problem in the global food industry, with clean water becoming a scarce and precious commodity in many places. Likewise, there is increasing pressure for industries to use more renewable energy and reduce their waste streams. The EcoVolt treatment system turns wastewater from factories into a source of reuseable processing water and clean energy.

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