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.
There is a lot of symbiosis going on in Cloverdale. The city and a major employer have been working together for mutual benefit. Bear Republic’s brewery on the southern edge of town has made possible the drilling of a new city well and the enhancement of another, to better supply water to Cloverdale. In addition, the brewery has invested millions of dollars in a state-of-the-art, biological wastewater pretreatment plant.
They’re miraculous in their own way, even if they don’t quite turn water into wine. Personal water treatment plants could soon be recycling our waste water and producing energy on the side.
Last month, Boston-based Cambrian Innovation began field tests of what’s known as a microbial fuel cell at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland. Called BioVolt, in one day it can convert 2250 litres of sewage into enough clean water for at least 15 people. Not only that, it generates the electricity to power itself – plus a bit left over.
After considering several companies, Lagunitas turned to Cambrian Innovation, headquartered in Boston. Lagunitas liked that the company’s EcoVolt system was modular and scalable for future growth, Rixey says. Cambrian Innovation’s EcoVolt Reactor first came to market in late 2013. Bear Republic Brewing Co. and Lagunitas were the first to purchase the full-scale system. Two more brewers purchased the system in 2015. “Though we have focused primarily on craft breweries and wineries, the technology is a good fit for all food and beverage producers facing wastewater management challenges,” Matthew Silver, Founder and CEO of Cambrian Innovation, says.
The onsite wastewater treatment EcoVolt solution will reduce the water footprint of Lagunitas Brewing Company by 40 percent, enabling the company to open a second brewery in the drought-stricken U.S. state of California. Cambrian Innovation CEO Matt Silver explains how.
Other craft breweries, such as Lagunitas Brewing Company and Bear Republic Brewing Co in Sonoma County, California, are using a new onsite wastewater treatment system housed in a shipping container.
The EcoVolt, developed by Boston-based startup Cambrian Innovation, is powered by electrically active bacteria that use anaerobic digestion to scrub the breweries’ wastewater of up to 90% of pollutants, according to Baji Gobburi, the company’s director of sales and marketing.
Cambrian Innovation offers a no-money-down water treatment technology with a clean energy byproduct. Given the successful start with breweries such as Lagunitas and Bear Republic, the company is focusing on craft breweries and wineries, although Silver said the technology is a good fit for many food and beverage producers.