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Comment Water Treatment

Reduce energy needs by converting wastewater into biogas

By Chemical Engineering |

Ecovation, Inc. (Victor, N.Y.; edlinks.chemengonline.com/6516-539) has constructed a waste-treatment and renewable-energy-production facility for CoolBrands International (North Lawrence, N.Y.) — a cottage-cheese and yogurt production plant that will use Ecovation’s patented Mobilized Film Technology (MFT) to biologically treat wastewater containing cheese whey. The CoolBrands plant — one of three large-scale MFT installations going on stream in 2007 in New York State alone — will be the first facility to utilize an extremely efficient energy-integration system that feeds on the large amount of biogas produced from the processing of dense dairy waste.

MFT is the advancement of a technology first developed at Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.) over 32 years ago. A thin film of bacteria is immobilized on small-diameter, inert media enabling a high density of microorganisms to grow, and allowing for greater treatment rates and efficiencies. A patented, hydraulic control system regulates the flow of the wastewater through the reactor bed to optimize pollutant removal rates. The MFT’s plug-flow mode of operation maximizes the organic reduction at minimum hydraulic retention times, says the firm. Biogas generated by the treatment process will be used to offset 25–30% of CoolBrand’s fuel oil consumption.

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