Baji Gobburi (1), William Dean (1), Matthew Silver (1); (1) Cambrian Innovation, Boston, MA, U.S.A.
The global craft beer sector is growing at a breakneck pace. As beer production increases, so do the volumes of water required and wastewater produced. Meanwhile, population growth, aging infrastructure, and climate change are driving new water supply restrictions and stringent regulations for wastewater disposal. Shifting from a centralized water and energy infrastructure to distributed solutions can cut costs, increase production, and boost sustainability for breweries. Cambrian Innovation’s flagship product, the EcoVolt, is a transformational system that extracts clean water and clean energy from brewery wastewater. Modular, onsite systems that maximize the use of resources and minimize waste, like EcoVolt, empower breweries to gain resource security by transitioning to a distributed utility model. Water scarcity is pushing up prices for fresh water. For Northern California craft brewery Bear Republic Brewing Company (~76,000 bbl/year), dependence on a centralized municipal system for freshwater and wastewater treatment trapped growth by limiting discharge volumes and capping fresh water supply. With an EcoVolt onsite, Bear can both expand production and expect wastewater and energy savings of up to $200,000 annually. Inclined to focus on their core business, breweries are quick to discharge their wastewater to local municipal treatment plants. When their local municipality refused to accept the waste, Lagunitas Brewing Company (~600,000 bbl/year) in Petaluma, CA, was forced to load it into tanker trucks for hauling to a larger, regional treatment facility over 60 miles away. With an EcoVolt Solution treating wastewater onsite, Lagunitas is targeting a record low water/beer ratio of 2.5. The treatment system will produce enough recycled water to cut the facility’s water consumption in half, while producing enough energy from the wastewater to cover 20% of onsite energy demand. Central Michigan brewery Northern United Brewing Company (~11,000 bbl/year) was unable to increase production and meet market demand because the local town of Dexter couldn’t accommodate more wastewater. An EcoVolt MINI will treat all of the brewery’s wastewater, in a 53 ft container, minimizing the impact to the city and allowing the brewery to grow. Outdated and overworked municipal facilities are costly alternatives to new, distributed solutions. By leveraging EcoVolt’s breakthrough technology, craft brewers can ensure independent resource security, lower costs, and increased production capacity. The EcoVolt Solution provides onsite, distributed utility services: wastewater treatment, clean energy generation, and clean water production. Many see the transition away from centralized systems to a distributed network as costly, but creative financing techniques developed by Cambrian Innovation lay these fears to rest. Performance-based leasing options allow brewers to only pay for the utility services they receive, eliminating risk. This model provides an opportunity for small businesses to invest in a distributed wastewater, energy, and water system at no upfront cost or ownership risk. Businesses pay monthly for clean water and energy generated by the system, transforming the EcoVolt solution into a personal micro-utility.
Baji Gobburi is an industrial water executive with over twenty years of water and environmental expertise. As vice president of Sales & Marketing, Baji is responsible for Cambrian Innovation’s sales strategy, building customer pipeline and global business development across multiple verticals. Prior to joining the Cambrian Innovation team, Baji served as director of business and product development at Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) and held various global management positions at General Electric (NYSE: GE) Water & Process Technologies. His roles at GE included North American services leader and general manager of the Caribbean desalination business unit, where he led the financial and operational turnaround of multiple water plants across nine Caribbean countries. He also held environmental consulting positions at Integrated Environmental Solutions, Inc. and TRC Companies, Inc. Baji earned an MBA degree from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, as well as an M.S. degree in hazardous waste management from Wayne State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Osmania University in India.