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Tag Archive: Waste Water Processing

  1. Why careful wastewater treatment for breweries matters

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    Brewing beer is an incredibly water-intensive operation. Aside from the fact that water is by far the most prevalent ingredient in any pint, water is also necessary to rinse, clean and prepare every piece of equipment in the brewery.

    The average brewery uses seven barrels of water for every single barrel of beer it produces, according to Craft Brewing Business. This number is something many brewers strive to reduce but it’s not easy. Even operations that place sustainability at the top of their priorities use huge quantities of water: Some of the most water-efficient breweries use around three barrels of water per barrel of beer.

    As the craft brewing industry continues to expand, it’s critical that everyone involved keep wastewater treatment options in mind. Many people in both the brewing and water treatment industries discover that finding an efficient, affordable way to dispose of the water leaving a brewery is a significant challenge.

    “Finding an efficient, affordable way to dispose of the water leaving a brewery is a significant challenge for breweries.”

    Craft brewers invest in wastewater treatment

    Like most business operations, breweries have the choice of bringing their wastewater treatment operations in-house or using a third party. Many turn to municipal water treatment plants for assistance, but not all cities have adequate operations to handle the rich water-leaving breweries.

    For example, Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California, would truck its wastewater to East Bay Municipal Utility District plant in Oakland. Petaluma’s facility was both too small for the amount of water coming from Lagunitas, and ill-equipped to handle the high levels of sugars, yeasts and other substances present in the brewery’s wastewater.

    After debating whether to spend $8 million on its own wastewater treatment operation, Lagunitas decided to partner with Cambrian Innovation, a company that provides wastewater treatment solutions for commercial operations. Cambrian has capabilities that allow the wastewater be renewed into clean water and energy.

    Other breweries have come up with their own solutions. Mendocino Brewing Company, located in Hopland, California, spent $1.5 million on its own wastewater treatment plant more than two decades ago, and continues to invest in periodic upgrades, according to The Press Democrat. Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, California, invested $100,000 in an underground wastewater treatment facility.

    “From an operational standpoint, it, along with a handful of other pieces of equipment, is the first thing I check in the morning,” Vinnie Cilurzo, brewmaster at Russian River Brewing, explained to The Press Democrat. “If your wastewater is not operable, your brewery is not operational.”

    What makes brewery wastewater unique

    The water leaving a brewery is harmful for the surrounding environment, but that’s not because it’s polluted with chemicals or toxins. Rather, this wastewater is filled with everything that bacteria, bugs and plant life love: sugar, yeast and protein.

    Releasing this high-strength wastewater into the ground and natural water systems in a community can promote extensive growth of bacteria and algae. When these populations flourish, they can take over resources that native fish, plants and other organisms in the ecosystem need to survive. They can also over-consume oxygen in sewer systems, throwing off the important yet highly touchy balance of bacteria within the systems that keep them working efficiently, according to The Equipped Brewer.

    “Some industrial generators, such as breweries, can generate high-strength industrial waste that is 100 times the concentration of your typical municipal waste water generator … When you dump waste that is 100 times the strength of a home or restaurant, you can eat up (your reserve capacity) real fast,” Dan St. John, director of public works and utilities in Petaluma, explained to The Press Democrat.

    Improving your brewery’s wastewater treatment process

    It’s clear that carefully managing your wastewater has far-reaching implications. Shedding off nutrient-rich water can affect many important systems in a community. Dependence on a municipality’s water treatment systems is an expense that adds up quickly.

    Having your own wastewater treatment plan can allow you to ensure the water is treated properly and responsibly. It can also allow you to use the post-treated water however you wish – whether that means reintroducing it into the brewery’s many water-dependent processes, using it for irrigation, or something else.

    If you’re considering building a new wastewater treatment system for your brewing operation or if you’re upgrading an existing facility, it’s important to keep equipment needs in mind. To learn about how a shell and tube heat exchanger can improve your wastewater treatment efforts, reach out to the engineers at Enerquip. Our team has extensive experience working with food and beverage manufacturers, and we will be able to determine the best option for your brewery.

  2. Closed-loop process cooling can help reduce water, energy use in pharmaceutical manufacturing

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    There is no denying the importance of the pharmaceutical industry. The products and innovations that come from it keep people healthy and can save lives. Despite the good that comes out of the pharmaceutical industry, there are some key problems the industry causes. Water and energy consumption are two things that industries of all kinds are working hard to decrease. Pharmaceuticals are not an exception.

    According to the World Health Organization, the most widely used product in pharmaceutical manufacturing is water. It is used as a starting material, as an added substance in products, and in the processing of the products.

    Water problems

    Being such a crucial ingredient and factor in the means of processing products, it’s hard to get away from using so much water. However, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing pointed out that many companies have been focused on conserving water to achieve two goals: improve the sustainability of their operations and cut operational expenses.

    The publication explained that one of the biggest culprits of high water usage is cooling towers. These provide an important step in the production of a wide range of products, including:

    • Forming tablets
    • Cooling creams and ointments
    • Sterilizing liquids
    • Batch processing

    Unfortunately, these important towers typically use between 1 and 1.5 million gallons of water every year. That water is used for its intended purpose once, then discarded and, many times leaves the plant contaminated.

    Not only do cooling towers use an exorbitant amount of water, but they are also heavy users of energy. Fans and pumps that are continuously running require high amounts of energy. Plus, contamination in forms of algae, solid deposits, microbiological growth, airborne diseases, scaling and more all require chemical treatment. This not only uses even more energy, but also further contaminates the water that is dispelled from the plant.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers provide a solution

    Given these issues, many pharmaceutical manufacturers have recognized the need to replace these important but costly cooling towers. A popular alternative is a closed-loop process cooling system.

    According to Medical Design Technology, many manufacturers in other parts of the world have already begun to recognize the wide range of benefits offered by closed-loop process cooling systems, including:

    • Decreased water and energy use
    • Lowered operational costs
    • Better control over cooling temperatures
    • Greater profitability

    These systems work using heat exchangers and an adiabatic chamber to cool process water, which is then available year-round at the correct temperature. Inside the chamber, a cooling mist is sprayed into the air when the temperature begins to creep up. The mist evaporates immediately so that it does not negatively affect the cooling process. The cooled water is circulated through the process machines.

    Water savings can reach up to 98 percent

    This technology reduces water consumption simply because it reuses water rather than getting rid of it and starting fresh with a new batch of water. Water savings can reach up to 98 percent using this method as opposed to the traditional cooling towers.

    Pharmaceutical Manufacturing pointed out that the system also reduces other contamination problems associated with cooling towers. The water that is recycled meets the sanitary requirements that manufacturers must adhere to. Plus, since the water won’t be contaminated, problems like airborne diseases such as Legionella are reduced.

    Energy consumption is also reduced using these systems. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing reported that in some climates, the plant can even turn off the chillers during colder months, reducing energy use even further.

    In today’s ever-developing world, it’s crucial that pharmaceutical manufacturers are operating at their best, and are doing so safely. However, for these companies to continue to become more profitable, it’s important that they find ways to cut costs and reduce energy and water use. To learn about how shell and tube heat exchangers can help improve your operation, talk to the experts at Enerquip.

    Want more about Pharmaceutical-grade shell and tube heat exchangers? Read on.

    Pharmaceutical heat exchangers – high purity design and fabrication

    Five important qualities to look for in Pharmaceutical process equipment

    Pharmaceutical manufacturers must meet ASME-BPE standards

    Important and applications of a double tubesheet design


  3. Sewage provides energy through processing

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    Many nations are investing in new technology to turn sewage waste into usable energy. Japan has recently revised its Sewerage Law to respond to the growing consciousness of energy-saving and recycling methods, The Japan News reported.

    Japan’s sewage system covers roughly 80 percent of the land area where most people live, through approximately 279 miles of pipelines. The Japanese Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism Ministry said there’s certainly no lack of sewage in the country and that the issue is persistent.

    For that specific reason, the nation’s leaders have implemented new technology to use sewage as a form of renewable energy. Through the new law, many energy experts believe the country will have even more reason to move toward renewable energy options with the variety of sewage treatment equipment available. In fact, there is a current system in place in a terrace building that uses heat-exchanger equipment to generate energy.

    How the sewage treatment works

    Through a massive heat pump, sewage is pulled into a processing center and given a heat treatment via shell and tube heat exchangers. Once this is completed, the energy produced from the process can be reallocated to heat or cool the 32-story building, the Tokyo Sewage Bureau explained, according to The Japan News.

    “Sewage renewable energy systems help cities when power surges occur on the grid.”

    While this process is energy-efficient and actually generates new power, many other facilities around the world tend to burn sewage sludge to get rid of it, the Capital New York reported. In Albany, New York, city officials installed an $8.6 million power generator to turn sewage at the wastewater plant into harnessed energy.

    Rich Lyons, executive director of the North Wastewater Treatment Plant located in Menands, New York, said the systems saves taxpayers roughly $400,000 a year and can supply approximately 75 percent of the plant’s energy through the disposal process, the source reported.

    “It virtually is power from the people,” said Lyons. “Sewage sludge is a renewable energy. It’s always available.”

    John Rhodes, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said new energy systems like this one help cities in critical times when power surges occur on the grid. Events like Hurricane Sandy still linger for those on the East Coast, and having additional power in a time of need could be truly helpful.

    The amount of sewage could significantly help generate power and provide energy to homes across the world.