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74. Independence from utility expenses: Generate clean energy and water on-site

M. R. Silver (1), B. GOBURRI (1); (1) Cambrian Innovation, Boston, MA, U.S.A.

Utilities Management

The American craft beer sector is growing at a breakneck pace. As beer production increases, so does the volume of water required and, consequently, the volume of wastewater produced. Meanwhile, population growth, aging infrastructure, and climate change are driving new water supply restrictions and stringent regulations for wastewater disposal. Matthew Silver, CEO of Cambrian Innovation, pioneer of biotechnology solutions for industrial businesses, can discuss how generating clean water and energy on-site can cut costs, increase production, and boost sustainability for breweries. Water scarcity across the country is pushing up prices for fresh water. Breweries are also hit with increasing wastewater treatment fees from local municipal treatment plants. Cambrian Innovation’s advanced biotechnology can dramatically reduce both expenses. The company’s flagship product, the EcoVolt, converts brewery wastewater into clean water and clean energy—turning a cost center into a profit center. For craft brewery Bear Republic Brewing Company, dependent on a centralized municipal system for freshwater and wastewater treatment, trapped their growth potential by limiting discharge volumes and capping the fresh water supply. With an EcoVolt onsite, Bear can both expand production and expect wastewater and energy savings of up to $200,000 annually. For Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA, the local municipality refused to accept brewery wastewater. Lagunitas was forced to haul truckloads of high-strength wastewater to a larger, regional treatment facility more than 40 miles away. With an EcoVolt solution treating all its wastewater on-site, Lagunitas is targeting a record low water/beer ratio of 2.5. The treatment system will produce enough recycled water to cut the facility’s water consumption in half, while producing enough energy from the wastewater to cover 20% of on-site energy demand. Outdated and over-worked municipal wastewater treatment and water distribution facilities present costly line items for breweries. Craft brewers can ensure independent resource security, lower costs, and increase production capacity with on-site wastewater treatment systems. Cambrian CEO Matthew Silver can discuss how modular, on-site systems that maximize the use of resources and minimize waste, like EcoVolt, can empower breweries to gain resource security by transitioning from a centralized to a distributed utility model. Many see the transition away from centralized systems to a distributed network as costly, but creative financing techniques, like some developed by Cambrian Innovation, can help ease the way. Performance-based leasing options, in which third-party investors put down the up-front capital for a system, allow brewers to only pay for the utility services they receive. This model provides an opportunity for small businesses to invest in a distributed wastewater, energy, and water system at no up-front cost or ownership risk. Businesses pay monthly for clean water and energy generated by the system, transforming the EcoVolt solution into a personal micro-utility.

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