Solar power took off because solar panels got cheaper and better, and because state and federal governments have helped subsidize the industry. But those aren’t the only reasons. A big part of solar’s success has come from new financial models, like solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPA), which save end-users from having to buy equipment upfront.
Now other environmental industries are hoping to copy solar’s success.
Boston-based Cambrian Innovation, which makes a modular wastewater treatment system for food and beverage plants, has come up with something called a water-energy purchase agreement (WEPA). Like a solar PPA, it saves users from startup costs and effectively turns infrastructure into a service. Plant owners pay a monthly fee based on the amount of wastewater going through the system, and in return they get clean (or nearly clean) water and energy in the form of methane, which can either be burned for heat, or converted to electricity. Cambrian’s EcoVolt product, which comes in a cargo container, is basically a supercharged anaerobic digester.
Cambrian Innovation today said that Lagunitas Brewing Company will be the first customer to use its water-energy purchase agreement (WEPA).
Under the WEPA, which Cambrian says is a first for the industrial wastewater treatment industry, Lagunitas will use Cambrian’s EcoVolt product to treat its wastewater onsite, producing recycled water and clean energy to use at its Azusa, California brewery, which will open early next year. The brewery will pay a monthly fee and zero money down for the wastewater treatment and renewable energy generation as a service.
By reducing its utility bills and eliminating its off-site wastewater hauling and treatment costs, Cambrian estimates the WEPA will save the brewery $22.5 million over the 20-year contract.
Water is power. The world needs it. Water is also beer, which the world also needs. All breweries understand this, especially a brewery like Russian River Brewing Co., which literally gains its name, inspiration and flavor from that Russian River. In order to keep these standards of flavor quality and sustainability high as the brewery expands, it has turned to Cambrian Innovation, a biotechnology company solving critical resource challenges for the industry.
“Sustainable production is really important to us,” says Natalie, “and we want to ensure that we remain conscious of our environmental impact as we grow. The EcoVolt solution will cut our carbon and water footprints, ensuring that if we do choose to further increase production, we also give back to the environment.”
It looks like the sustainability engine of the future is going to keep chugging along, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. The latest case in point is the US brewing industry. Breweries of all sizes have been investing in high efficiency equipment that cuts down their wastewater while producing usable products including methane gas, potable water and biosolids. That trend is not likely to change any time soon.
That’s because US breweries — especially urban breweries — need to think ahead if they’re going to continue growing in an era of water scarcity and aging wastewater treatment facilities.
Bear Republic Brewing Co., a family-owned brewery known for its IPAs and environmental stewardship, and Cambrian Innovation, a biotechnology company solving critical resource challenges for industry, sent over some info on the successful, long-term operation of the world’s first industrial-scale, bioelectrically-enhanced wastewater treatment solution.
Bear Republic Brewing Company was up against environmental and operational challenges common to many food and beveragecompanies. The Cloverdale, California-based brewery faced city-imposed water supply and wastewater discharge limits. If it wanted to proceed with its expansion plan, it would have to find an onsite wastewater treatment system that reduced the load on the city’s aging and overworked water treatment infrastructure.
To address both these issues, Bear Republic turned to biotechnology firm Cambrian Innovation and its EcoVolt technology, which allows industrial users to treat wastewaterwhile generating clean energy and clean water for reuse. The company first purchased the EcoVolt Reactor in 2014. It spent the next two years working with Cambrian and the city to obtain the necessary permits and evaluations and get the onsite system approved and operational.
The Circulars, an initiative of the World Economic Forum and Forum of Young Global Leaders, is the world’s premier circular economy award program. The awards ceremony is held annually, in January at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, and run in collaboration with Accenture Strategy.
The Circulars recognises a variety of circular pioneers; from global businesses and leaders, to innovative start-ups and public bodies. An important category is The Dell Circular Economy People’s Choice Award. This category is for early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of the circular economy who are demonstrating innovation and market disruption.
Cleaning up wastewater is a power-hungry business.
Adding up the cost of running all the pumps, waste driers and other electronics the average wastewater treatment plant burns through 1.5 kilowatt-hours for every kilogram of pollutants removed.
But a new technology is emerging that is turning a cost into an asset. It uses electrically active bacteria to eat waste and produce electricity as a by-product.
Under ideal conditions they are not only are able to run the plant, they can even feed extra electricity back into the grid.
Matt Silver, chief executive of US company Cambrian Innovation, says the potential for the technology is enormous.
MassVentures today announced the 2016 START (SBIR Targeted Technologies) program winners with $3,000,000 in grant funding to be awarded to 17 cutting edge Massachusetts companies. The grants will allow the companies, which had previously received SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grants from federal agencies and departments including the Army, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, NASA and the Navy, to grow employment opportunities, promote manufacturing and commercialization, and stimulate innovation across the Commonwealth.