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2017 Master Brewers Conference
83. Wastewater treatment and water reuse as a service: Increasing a brewery’s sustainability at no upfront cost

Wiliam Dean, Cambrian Innovation, Boston, MA, U.S.A.

Coauthor(s): Matthew Silver, Cambrian Innovation, Boston, MA, U.S.A.; Baji Gobburi, Cambrian Innovation, Boston, MA, U.S.A.; Claire Aviles, Cambrian Innovation, Watertown, MA, U.S.A.


Linear consumption of resources is no longer sustainable for breweries, particularly when it comes to water. With water scarcity a growing concern and water intake and wastewater discharge costs rapidly increasing, breweries that simply take, use, and dispose of water expose themselves to economic and environmental risk. Many breweries now treat water as part of the circular economy, developing closed-loop water and wastewater management strategies to ensure consistent water supply and avoid escalating treatment costs. On-site, distributed solutions for wastewater treatment and reuse are one way to enable increased security. However, they are often cost prohibitive, particularly for smaller, growing breweries, who would rather invest in brewing equipment or marketing and sales activities that support increased production and distribution expansion into new territories. In an industry where it costs an estimated $30,000 to go into a new market, it is difficult to justify sinking high-value capital in a system that is, seemingly, so unrelated to the brewing process. Cambrian Innovation is solving this problem by offering wastewater treatment and water reuse as a service. The Water-Energy Purchase Agreement (WEPA) offers breweries a low-cost alternative to the more traditional capital purchase or lease, giving them access to sustainable treatment and reuse solutions at no upfront cost. Under the WEPA, Cambrian assumes responsibility for all aspects of wastewater treatment, from design and construction, to permitting and installation, to day-to-day operations and compliance. The brewery pays a monthly fee based on their treatment needs and is provided clean energy and clean water for their facility at a discount to utility rates. In combination with Cambrian’s containerized EcoVolt solutions, the WEPA allows a brewery to maximize sustainability without sacrificing efficiency, space, or capital. A brewery can hand wastewater management entirely to Cambrian and focus more time and capital on making, marketing, and selling their beer. Based on the success the EcoVolt solution at their brewery in Petaluma, California, Lagunitas Brewing Company became the first to partner in a WEPA for their new brewery in Southern California. Under the WEPA, Lagunitas will avoid an upfront capital cost at the Greenfield site, and save a projected $22.5 million. Cambrian will own, install, and operate an EcoVolt solution, capable of producing an estimated 300,000 gallons of recycled water per day, 2,300,000 kWh per year of gross renewable electricity, and 130,000 therms per year of gross renewable heat. Lagunitas pays Cambrian on a per-gallon basis. As Lagunitas increases their production at Azusa to more than one million barrels per year, it will look to Cambrian to treat increased wastewater flows through incremental installation of additional EcoVolt modules. In this session, we will review the development of the WEPA structure, including unique features of the WEPA contract and benefits from the brewery’s perspective. We will also discuss lessons learned from the first WEPA, signed by Lagunitas for their brewery in Azusa, California.

As Cambrian Innovation’s acting sales manager, William Dean has responsibilities spanning sales operations, applications engineering, and strategic marketing. He has been with Cambrian for over three years. William earned his bachelor’s in chemistry from Harvard University.

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