Brewery tackles drought with tech

[caption id="attachment_86448" align="alignnone" width="500"] Cambrian Innovation's EcoVolt unit is an enclosed system than can be stacked to accommodate a growing operation.[/caption]

CLOVERDALE -- Bear Republic Brewing Company is tackling drought conditions with ingenuity, said to be the first brewery to try a new water-cleaning, energy-producing system developed for the U.S military.

The company has installed an initial unit of EcoVolt, produced by Boston-based Cambrian Innovation (cambrianinnovation.com). Designed to treat wastewater and generate biogas using a proprietary bio-electric technology, the system is expected to cut water treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use on site and significantly reduce the brewery's carbon footprint.

"We were looking for ways to conserve water in the face of threatening drought and saw the EcoVolt system being installed in a nearby winery," said Bear Republic owner and CEO Richard Norgrove Sr.

Bear Republic (bearrepublic.com) spent "seven figures -- between $1 million and $5 million, so far" on the system, he said, which is enclosed in a freight car-sized trailer. The units are stackable and can be added easily to support a growing operation.

Inside the unit, wastewater is exposed to electrically active organisms that eliminate 80 percent to 90 percent of the biological oxygen demand, a measure of organic compounds. The system also converts carbon dioxide directly into biogas that can be used onsite to generate both heat and electricity.

 "We'll use the energy to power our generator," said Mr. Norgrove, adding that the system is still being tweaked to adjust it to the brewery's needs. Three months on site, the EcoVolt technology has already resulted in water conservation.

[caption id="attachment_86447" align="alignleft" width="300"] The EcoVolt unit at Bear Republic's Cloverdale brewery is expected to cut water-treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use on site and significantly reduce the plant's carbon footprint.[/caption]


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