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🤖 "How to Treat Wastewater in a Net Grid Positive Way"

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Manaf Farhan | CEO & Co-Founder | EMG International
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[7:05] “Initially in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, anaerobic digestion was primarily used in wastewater treatment plants that are municipal to treat disposed wastewater, which is typically treated aerobically with the presence of oxygen. And when that’s done, it produces sludge. Aerobic systems are energy consumers, and they produce a lot of bacteria or sludge. The yield ratio for aerobic systems is 0.6. Meaning for every 100 pounds of biochemical oxygen demand, 60 pounds of sludge or biomass is produced. So historically anaerobic digestion has been used in the United States at least to treat the sludge or the biomass that’s produced from municipal wastewater treatment plants. It takes that sludge and they are treated anaerobically and they produce biogas. So it’s a secondary treatment or as an afterthought.”

[8:30] “We focus on using anaerobic digestion for treating industrial wastewater. And […] the primary target for us is food and beverage manufacturing, because [it] is high strength, it is biodegradable. […] Coca Cola, when they produce soda, for example, they use sugar and they use flavorings and the sugar is highly biodegradable. And we just put that through an anaerobic digester to produce methane or bio gas instead of producing more sludge to neutralize the wastewater.”

[9:38] “Instead of […] the yield for aerobic systems, [which] is 0.6, the yield for anaerobic systems or anaerobic processes is close between 0.03 to 0.06. And so it’s between 10 to 20 times less, meaning […] for every 100 pounds of BOD, you produce between three to six pounds of sludge. And so the process itself is slower. It’s a net energy producer. It produces less biomass as a by-product and it basically converts the organic starches sugars, alcohols, proteins, […] fats into biogas, CH4 and CO2.”

[17:49] “Today we’re all aware of our impact on the environment as human beings you know, with industries and the goal is for us to minimize impact on the environment. So the first and biggest driver in my mind […] is to reduce the impact on the environment. And so the soda manufacturer might make delicious soda, and they might be very excited about their products and they keep continuously creating new products that help them into the marketplace. But every time we do that, there’s an impact on the environment in terms of generating more wastewater with more pollutants. And so the first thing that I would say is, […] these manufacturers can put an anaerobic fluidized bed digestive system there and reduce their carbon footprint, reduce the amount of waste that they put into the sewer or discharge into the environment.”

[18:53] “A lot of manufacturers are very responsible and very aware of the importance of reducing the carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. When we put a fluidized bed digester in to treat industrial wastewater, we can reduce the organic discharge to a sewer by 80, 90, 95%. […] And then we can recover bio gas, which we can make into electricity and recover waste heat from that application. And so we can then reduce the amount of energy that they use, the amount of electricity they consume per unit produced, and the amount of natural gas they consume […] to produce. So […] the biggest driver is to be responsible and to manufacture sustainably.”

[19:40] “The other thing is reducing costs because a lot of times […] they put these pollutants in this sewer and they have to pay a surcharge fee. So those pollutants go to a municipal wastewater treatment plant that treats the wastewater aerobically, which is an energy intensive process. So […] that is going to have a bigger impact on the environment. And so when we put the process treatment onsite, it is a very small footprint because a lot of times these manufacturers are space limited. They can reduce their discharge […] and they can reduce the cost that they pay with that.”

[27:26] “In the past industries have looked at wastewater as a tax or as a liability. They look at it as something that they have to pay money for to produce, to be in business. Where with our solution, with our technology, you can actually now convert that liability into an asset. And that’s part of the reason why we look at industrial wastewater because […] the byproducts […] are organic based, it’s food waste that we’re going to convert into energy. […] The issue that we fight the most is acceptance because people still don’t trust wastewater treatment. They still don’t trust that it can be done effectively and reliably.”

[54:33] “I believe sustainability is a big trend in the water industry. […] Reducing the carbon footprint, treating sustainably, reducing water consumption. And the other thing is automation. I think those two are in the next 10, 20 years are going to be at the forefront of innovation in the water industry.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 1 hr 2 min | 🗓️ 05/12/2021
✅ Time saved: 1 hr