Effluent Problems, Energy Costs Spirited Away

July 1, 2008
• Anaerobic digestion specialist shows wastewater treatment and renewable energy not mutually exclusive at Calif.

Anaerobic digestion specialist shows wastewater treatment and renewable energy not mutually exclusive at Calif. winery, Ky. bourbon maker.

In late June, Ecovation officially opened pioneering facilities employing its Mobilized Film Technology (MFT) at the Simi Winery in Sonoma, CA, and Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, KY. MFT achieves ultra high-rate biological treatment of wastewater, resulting in optimal removal of organics with maximum generation of methane-rich biogas while minimizing energy consumption, sludge production and chemical utilization.

Maker’s Mark treatment facility with Ecovation MFT unit in brown building.
Click here to enlarge image

The system at Simi will serve as a model for other wineries in the region, dispelling previous skepticism about anaerobic digestion in a winery setting and promoting a renewable energy source to offset higher fuel and energy costs. The custom design can handle fluctuating loads during the winery's crush season, alleviating seasonal stress on nearby Healdsburg's publically owned water treatment facility. With a footprint of less than 40' x 40', the system can manage daily flows of up to 43,500 gallons and organic loading of 1,500-2,000 lbs/day.

"This facility boosts Simi's environmental sustainability, while significantly reducing wastewater surcharge costs," noted Diane C. Creel, Ecovation's general manager.

The Maker's Mark project is the first whole stillage treatment system for the bourbon industry, and will also serve as a model for other spirits distilleries in the United States and abroad. The system generates up to 165MMBtu/day of renewable biogas, offsetting 15-25% of the distillery's natural gas usage.

"Transitioning to Ecovation's waste stream treatment solution provides significant advantages over other options we considered," said Kevin Smith, Maker's Mark master distiller and vice president of operations. "While our production capacity will increase, operation costs will decrease – all through an environmentally-friendly technique."

Ecovation's MFT process has been employed by milk, yogurt, cheese, cranberry, soft drink and other beverage processors, as well as municipal utilities.

Ecovation Inc., acquired by Ecolab Inc. in February, is based in Victor, NY. Contact: 585-421-3500 or www.ecovation.com

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