48. Modification of existing digester systems at breweries to handle overloading and production growth

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

Sustainability II
Saturday, October 10
8:30–10:15 a.m.
River Terrace 2

An increasing number of breweries rely on anaerobic digester systems for wastewater treatment and reduction of sewer surcharge fees. Over the past 10 years, the craft brewing industry has experienced sustained growth rates, with some breweries increasing production multiple folds. This has caused a significant increase in wastewater generation rates and overloading of existing digester systems. This paper presents a systematic approach to evaluating digester system performance, identifying and correcting factors that result in inefficient digester operation, and optimizing existing digester system performance to handle overloading and production growth to the extent feasible. In addition, design and implementation of biogas handling, electricity generation and waste heat recovery systems, as well as design considerations for new anaerobic digester systems for brewery wastewater treatment will be discussed. More specifically, this paper addresses the following topics: a description of the anaerobic digestion process; established degradation pathways for digesting organic compounds produced by brewing operations; required environmental factors for optimizing the anaerobic digestion process; sampling and analytical methods to evaluate digester system performance; typical indicators of an overloaded, stressed, or unbalanced digestion process; engineering modifications for improving existing digester system performance and maximizing organic loading rate (OLR) capacity; general guidelines for design and implementation of biogas handling, electricity generation, and waste heat recovery systems; and design considerations for new anaerobic digester systems for brewery wastewater treatment, including system sizing and accounting for production growth, organic load capture, flow equalization, solids handling, and system monitoring and control. This presentation is based on related project work completed at three leading breweries in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan with operational anaerobic digester systems and electricity generation and waste heat recovery systems.

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.

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