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41. High-rate anaerobic digester systems for brewery wastewater treatment and electricity generation: System commissioning and start-up

M. H. FARHAN (1), Y. Farhan (1); (1) EMG International, LLC, Media, PA, U.S.A.

Sustainability I
Friday, October 9
4:00–5:45 p.m.
River Terrace 2

Craft brewers are passionate about making a positive impact on the brewing industry through innovation and creativity in developing new products for a diverse and growing consumer base. But, their commitment to making a positive impact isn’t limited to the brewing industry. Most craft brewers are also dedicated to having a positive impact on their local communities and beyond with an emphasis on sustainable brewing methods and a commitment to minimizing their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. Despite significant improvements over the past 20 years in water consumption, wastewater treatment and disposal, remains a major issue affecting most breweries, with negative environmental impacts and considerable economic cost. As breweries have sought the best solutions for wastewater treatment, many have turned to digester systems, such as high-rate anaerobic digesters, for organics removal and energy generation. One of the leading systems in this category is anaerobic fluidized bed digester (AFBD) technology with electricity generation and waste heat recovery. This system offers breweries an innovative high-rate wastewater treatment system that can provide significant cost savings, revenue from renewable electricity generation, and have a positive environmental impact through reduction of the overall brewery carbon footprint. Following equipment fabrication and installation, digester system commissioning and start-up are critical tasks that require detailed attention and proper execution. This paper discusses commissioning and start-up of high-rate digester systems using an approach that keeps the start-up on schedule and supports efficient and successful long-term system operation. Digester system commissioning and shake-down task work discussed in this paper address major and ancillary system pumps, flow equalization, solids removal, chemical and nutrient feed systems, instruments required for process monitoring and control, biogas collection and conditioning system, flare unit, gen-set unit, combined heat and power (CHP) recovery system, programmable logic controller (PLC) unit, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) unit, and required plant utilities for digester system operation. The digester system start-up process discussed in this paper includes digester seeding, wastewater introduction, monitoring and controlling critical environmental conditions for the digestion process, increasing digester organic loading rate to design levels, and system performance trend analysis. This paper provides a detailed review of system commissioning and start-up work recently completed for a high-rate anaerobic digester system at the Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg, MI, as a case study, including system start-up performance data leading to steady-state long-term operation under design conditions.

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 M.S. degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University, and M.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 governmental 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.