M-70: High-rate anaerobic digester systems for brewery wastewater treatment and electricity generation: Wastewater characterization, system description, required footprint, construction, start-up and operation, and derived benefits

M. H. FARHAN (1), J. Kuhr (2); (1) EMG International, LLC, Media, PA, U.S.A.; (2) F. X. Matt Brewing Company, Utica, NY, U.S.A.


Breweries can incur significant costs associated with wastewater treatment and disposal. Increasing financial and regulatory pressures can drive brewery management to consider investment in a wastewater treatment system that will reduce annual operating costs. High-rate anaerobic fluidized bed digester (AFBD) systems with electricity generation and waste heat recovery offer breweries an innovative wastewater treatment system that can provide disposal cost and operations and maintenance savings. This presentation addresses the following areas: brewery wastewater sampling and characterization; digester system description, including system components, hydraulic and organic loading capacity, unit operation sizing and design, and system control and monitoring; system layouts and footprint requirements; project construction planning; digestion process start-up requirements, including wastewater collection and delivery, system seeding, and start-up loading to the AFBD system; operational requirements for brewery digester systems, including targeting high organic loading sources from the brewery operation, required wastewater screening, wastewater equalization and conditioning, optimizing heat exchange and waste heat recovery, and on-line monitoring and control; and derived environmental and economic benefits specific to brewery applications, including wastewater sewer discharge cost savings, generated electricity revenues, recovered waste heat savings, renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon credits (CCs). This presentation uses an operational AFBD system at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, NY, as a case study, with related system descriptions, process start-up, operational requirements, and derived benefits.

Manaf H. Farhan is the president and CEO of EMG International based in Media, PA. He holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed professional engineer. His doctoral research focused on design and optimization of various anaerobic digester processes to maximize process efficiency and biogas production. He has authored several peer-reviewed articles on anaerobic digestion and has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has more than 20 years of experience providing a wide range of environmental engineering design and consulting services to private industry and government clients. His professional experience includes design and construction of digester systems for wastewater treatment and biogas and electricity generation for food and beverage facilities and for dairy farms; technical evaluation, process modifications, and operational support for various full-scale anaerobic digester installations; development and testing of bench- and pilot-scale wastewater treatment systems; pollution prevention and wastewater minimization audits; and biogas collection, clean-up, and utilization systems.

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