- Over 40 billion gallons of wastewater are produced every day in the US, enough to fill over 70,000 Olympic swimming pools.
- The United States spends 3% of our energy simply treating some of this water.
- Wastewater actually contains energy, and can be converted into electricity or other valuable resources.
Water management represents one of the greatest environmental challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. Everything that humans do has a water footprint – from daily living to agriculture, manufacturing, and energy production. Yet, fresh water sources are limited, representing only 2.5% of the total water available on Earth. As populations and GDP continue to rise, water tables are dropping and wastewater volumes increasing, putting tremendous stress on the Earth’s natural water cycles.
One of the most viable solutions to this problem is water treatment and re-use. Unfortunately, existing technologies and approaches are not adequate. This is, in part, due to the tight coupling between water use and a range of other productive processes, from energy to food production. At Cambrian Innovation, we are dedicated to leveraging new technology and new business models that can unravel these connections, and radically reduce the cost of managing water.
Over 40 billion gallons of wastewater are produced every day by municipal and industrial sources such as breweries, dairies, and bottling plants. This water should be treated, but unfortunately much of it makes its way to our rivers, lakes and oceans. As a result, large anoxic dead-zones have appeared in even our largest water bodies such as the Chesapeake bay and the Mississippi River Delta.
The Water/Energy Nexus
One of the challenges with wastewater treatment is that existing technologies are expensive and energy intensive. Aerobic wastewater treatment in particular – the dominant approach worldwide – costs over $30 billion annually and consumes over 3% of the electricity in the United States alone.
Cambrian’s innovative product lines reverse the economics of the wastewater treatment process. Rather than consume power, our systems leverage BES technology to generate electricity and value-added products while treating organic pollutants in wastewater. The net result is a radical reduction in energy use, and substantial savings in the operations and maintenance costs per unit of pollution removed.