Case Study

99 Percent Efficient Plant Shows Food, Beverage, And Agribusiness How To Recycle Wastewater And Profit From Green Energy

Treatment plants such as the new GWE installation at this winery produce both green energy and recyclable water from wastewater.

An outstandingly efficient industrial wastewater treatment plant using technology being introduced to Australasia is demonstrating to the food, beverage, and agribusiness processing industries how to turn waste into profit.

The plant, employing Global Water Engineering technology distributed here by CST Wastewater Solutions, removes more than 99 percent of organic pollutants from wastewater and turns them into profitable biogas green energy.

The new plant is being commissioned in California by the world’s largest winery to transform wastewater into recycled water in a place where, like Australia and parts of New Zealand, population growth, climate change, and severe drought can challenge governments’ ability to provide clean water for a healthy environment.

The technology involved transforms waste from a disposal problem into a source of ongoing profit from green energy and recycled water worth tens of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the plant, says the Managing Director of CST Wastewater Solutions, Mr Michael Bambridge. CST Wastewater Solutions is deploying similar technology in Australia and New Zealand, where it can be used in applications including food, beverage, and agribusiness applications extending from meat, dairy, crop, fruit, vegetable, timber, and any industrial plant with a biological waste stream.

The new California plant has the capacity to process up to 1740m3 of strong wastewater containing more than 27,000 kg of COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) from the winery and an onsite distillery. From this it can generate up to 635 million liters of reclaimed water per year, which is used to irrigate surrounding vineyards.

On an annual basis when the plant reaches full capacity, the reclaimed water capacity is equivalent to more than 250 Olympic swimming pools filled with high quality water for reuse. This resource reduces the drain on community water supplies and provides an immediately accessible, predictable and reliable resource for the company involved, says Ian Page, Vice President of Global Water and Energy (GW&E), which is GWE’s technology supplier in the U.S. and Canada.

Harnessing both anaerobic and aerobic treatment technologies, the California plant transforms the wastewater into water clean enough for a variety of potential non-potable uses.

“The result, which has been successfully achieved in numerous applications of GWE technology, is equivalent to an improvement of more than 99 percent in the quality of water produced for recycling,” says Mr. Page.

In the process of breaking down and transforming waste water nutrients, the plant can produce up to 8330 Nm3 of biogas (methane), equivalent to 5800 kg a day of fuel oil. This represents a production capacity of more than 2000 tons of fuel oil a year, worth tens of millions of dollars over the life of the plant.

“Such savings go straight to the bottom line in profit in perpetuity,” says Mr. Page. “Not only can wineries produce such savings, but so also can any food, beverage, or other business with a biological waste stream.

The new treatment facilities have a capacity of 635 million liters a year, most of which can be used for recycling.

“This represents a huge diversity of industry globally, with the technology being particularly effective for industries such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, brewery, canning, paper and packaging, food processing, and agribusiness processing including many of the world’s most important crops, including fruit, cane, grain, maize, yams, sorghum, potatoes, beans, and cassava.

“And the outstanding thing about biogas is that it can be used to enhance the environment by replacing fossil fuels used in such areas as boilers and production heat processes, or even to generate electricity where this is required,” said Mr. Page.

GWE biogas technology is already operational in Australasia in applications extending from fruit canning, brewery, and meat processing operations, including the new Oakey Beef Exports project in Queensland. This plant will produce 183.3 gigajoules of energy a day when it reaches design capacity, representing 40 percent of its current usage of natural gas.

GWE Process technology involved in the California winery project included SUPERSEP™ solids removal, heating and heat recovery, in-line pH control, ANUBIX™-T (EGSB) anaerobic treatment, a high temperature biogas flare, odor control, aerobic MBR (membrane bioreactor), BIOSULFURIX™ biogas scrubber, GASODRIX™ biogas drying, and activated carbon filters.

GWE Technology

Nearly 400 wastewater treatment and waste-to-energy plants using Global Water Engineering technology are in service throughout the world.

The latest GWE technologies, including GWE’s RAPTOR™ treatment system for organic residues, won GWE a major international chemical engineering award from the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), which represents more than 40,000 chemical engineers worldwide. This latest, 2014, Energy Award involved a world first with Chok Chai Starch in Thailand, where a GWE RAPTOR system is used to convert wet pulp waste product from the processing of cassava roots into biogas.

Scores of plants using GWE technology also produce green energy to power boilers and electricity generators. Further treatment steps for recycling of water after anaerobic processing can also result in up to 75 percent of the treated water being available for reuse.

Depending of the scale of the anaerobic plant employed, the green energy generated can repay the cost of the anaerobic plant within as little as two years – and go on generating profit virtually in perpetuity.

GWE Chairman and CEO Mr Jean Pierre Ombregt says advanced anaerobic technology is strongly applicable to any factory or process with one or more digestible solid waste streams.

“Green energy alternatives such as wind power and solar power get most of the headlines for their achievements, but anaerobic processes are even more suited to industry in many instances, given that it provides reliable base load power and simultaneously treats wastewater to high discharge standards.

“Biogas from wastewater is an outstanding source of base load power. As part of a renewable energy mix – complementing wind and solar generation, for example – electricity generated with biogas is highly reliable and consistent.  As the major component of natural gas, methane is an environmentally attractive alternative to fossil fuels.”

For further information in Australia and New Zealand, , please contact Mr Michael Bambridge, Managing Director, CST Wastewater Solutions, 16/20 Barcoo Street, Roseville 2069. Tel: 61 2 9417 3611 email:

For further information globally, please contact Marc Eeckhaut, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Technology, Global Water Engineering, Addresses/contacts of the nearest GWE office are located at