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.
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.