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Wastewater to Energy Reduction & Production

Ithaca, NY, USA

Cost

Initial:
300 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2015

At a Glance

Pilot of a new waste-to-energy technology for wastewater treatment facilities; when combined with anaerobic digesters, resulted in an increase of methane production from primary sludge by 240-520% and an estimated 52% reduction of energy needs associated with secondary aeration.

Problem Addressed

Like most wastewater treatment facilities, energy consumption and increasing demands on treatment capacity are always challenges for the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility in New York. On a normal day, the facility treats about 6.4 million gallons of water, but during storm events is affected by infiltration and inflow which can increase flows to over 20 MGD.

Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility used/is using a new type of organics harvesting system pilot to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

In 2015, Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility piloted a new type of organics harvesting system designed to remove the majority of organic waste during the primary stage of treatment, resulting in not only increased biogas generation (methane) but also associated reductions in energy needs for treatment through secondary aeration. The pilot unit of ClearCove’s Harvester technology had the capacity to treat 24,000 gallons per day and was paired with four 350-gallon pilot-scale anaerobic digesters to serve as a backup to biogas generation data collection. The wastewater treatment process combines a physical chemical process and natural gravity settling with an innovative screening method to filter out particulates using very little energy. Compared to traditional systems, this system includes primary clarification, flow equalization, fine screening, grit removal, fiber removal, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) removal, and floatables removal in a single tank – reducing capital costs and footprint requirements.

Outcomes

  1. System catches 65-70% of organics or biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) at the front of the plant, more than double traditional systems.
  2. Combined with anaerobic digesters, treatment system showed in an increase of methane production from primary sludge by 240-520%
  3. Estimated 52% reduction of energy needs associated with secondary aeration.
  4. A full-scale deployment could result in the IAWWTF generating more energy than it consumes onsite.

Something Unique

The system has been deployed at scale for dairies, breweries and wineries across the country - including a 260,000 GPD deployment which recovers 84M GPY of reusable water, produces 0.5MW of power onsite and 2068 tonnes per year in CO2 emissions.

Who Should Consider?

Cities and utilities exploring energy reduction and production opportunities in wastewater treatment.

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