More beer, less waste

CST Wastewater Solutions
Thursday, 30 September, 2010

Brewery targets world’s best practice in water usage

Pacific Beverages’ Bluetongue Brewery in New South Wales features a water recovery plant, which targets best-practice, water re-use standards. The water recovery plant also provides renewable energy for the brewery.

The system - which was designed as a model for food and beverage plants globally - was installed by a partnership of CST Wastewater Solutions and Global Water Engineering (GWE).

The $120 million brewery on NSW’s Central Coast will eventually have an annual capacity of 150 million L, producing premium beers.

The CEO of Pacific Beverages Peter McLoughlin says, “Bluetongue Brewery is designed in a modular format which allows it to grow as we do. Coupled with this flexibility are significant sustainability credentials, predominantly water and energy. Using water recovery techniques and modern design principles, we are able to target a reduction in our water usage to 2.2 L/l L of beer produced, which is among the best in the world and certainly well above the global average of 4 - 5 L of water to every 1 L of beer.

“Methane from this process will also power a third boiler which will reduce our energy consumption by about 15%,” McLoughlin told the first taste launch event recently.

Bluetongue Brewery’s water recovery is subjected to GWE’s anaerobic treatment that reduces the brewery’s carbon footprint by avoiding the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, say CST Wastewater Solutions Managing Director Michael Bambridge and GWE CEO Jean Pierre Ombregt.

The wastewater passes through several pre-treatment steps before entering a GWE Anubix-B anaerobic methane reactor in which the wastewater’s organic content (COD) is digested by bacteria in a closed reactor, degrading the compounds and converting them into valuable biogas and cleaned effluent.

Biogas from the process is collected and re-used as renewable energy to power the brewery’s boiler.

Treated effluent continues to an aerobic post-treatment stage in which organic content is further reduced by GWE’s Membrox membrane biological reactor (MBR) system.

In the water polishing step, the water from the MBR unit is sent through a reverse osmosis (RO) installation. Finally the effluent is led to a disinfection and storage unit, where the recycled water is kept for re-use applications.

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