A bioelectric technology to treat wastewater and generate biogas is being used at one California brewery, transforming waste into an asset.

Boston-based Cambrian Innovation and Bear Republic Brewing Co. Inc. installed its EcoVolt water treatment system at Bear Republic’s brewery in Cloverdale, Calif. According to the companies, Bear Republic is the first brewery to purchase the energy-positive system, which is expected to cut water treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use onsite, and reduce the brewery’s carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint.

According to Cambrian Innovation, electrically active organisms rapidly eliminates 80 to 90 percent of the biological oxygen demand (BOD). The bioelectrochemical system also converts CO2 directly into biogas that can be used onsite to generate both heat and electricity for Bear Republic’s production process.

EcoVolt is expected to deliver an annual return on investment of more than 25 percent, says Cambrian. The system is expected to allow the brewery to generate enough clean heat and electricity to eliminate more than 50 percent of the site’s baseload electricity use, supply more than 10 percent of the facility’s requirements with recycled water, and cut operational costs annually.

The EcoVolt installation includes a “headworks” unit, modular reactors for treatment, and a packaged combined heat and power system.