Membrane Bioreactors in Beer Production and Water Waste Management

Emily Tregidgo – emt2179

1) Sustainability Problem: Water, waste, emissions, safety and health

An average brewery uses 7 to 10 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of beer1. Water is used as both an ingredient in beer and in its production, and wastewater is produced as a result of operations. Both the water intensity of production and the wastewater associated with it pose sustainability questions and concerns.

2) Sustainability Technology: BlueCycle MBR (membrane bioreactor)

Cambrian and The Florida Brewery Partner to Reduce Costs and CO2 Emissions

  • Distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions provider Cambrian is partnering with Florida’s second oldest operational brewery, The Florida Brewery, to deploy Cambrian’s BlueCycle MBR technology. The technology is intended to replace the need for high-strength wastewater disposal systems, and to reduce CO2 output by ~254 metric tons per year. There are also anticipated cost savings associated with the technology.
  • BlueCycle MBR is an aerobic digester that removes water pollutants from the wastewater and its use facilitates water reuse compliant with Title 22 requirements (water recycling regulations). 
  • Anheuser-Busch, Dr. Pepper, and Anchor Brewing Company are among other companies that are using Cambrian’s water reuse solutions.

3) Stakeholders

  • Cambrian
  • The Florida Brewery (operational team)
  • Other beverage companies (both those that use these technologies and those that do not)
  • Regulatory bodies (to ensure compliance with Title 22 and other legislation) 

4) The First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology

  • Assess the impact of the technology at The Florida Brewery
  • Market the cost savings and sustainability benefits the technology provides to other beverage companies
  • Conduct regulatory research to ensure the product is still compliant with the requisite legislation


1The thirsty business of beer: How breweries are confronting the industry’s water problem


3 thoughts on “Membrane Bioreactors in Beer Production and Water Waste Management

  1. Emily, this is really cool to see and I love technologies that make beer operations more sustainable. And linking on the website indicates one of my favorite breweries, Russian River, is also using this same technology:

    I’m curious what the waste flow of what is filtered out looks like. Is that filtered waste then trucked out or is there potential for other uses of it, say maybe as a source of methane or other biogasses? This could then potentially be used as an energy source.

    Speaking of beer, I was reminded of how Fat Tire is supposedly the first beer to be carbon neutral:

    I’m also reminded me of how brewer’s waste can be used as feed grain to chickens and hogs:

    It would be neat to see a brewery going fully circular with every part of the process and to go zero waste and have zero ghg emissions!


  2. Thanks for sharing, I’ve been following the Anheuser-Busch InBev sustainability strategy closely and it was great to read about the specifics of Cambrian’s BlueCycle MBR technology. I was interested to read more about Cambrian’s business model with regards to the BlueCycle MBR technology. They seem to offer the entire product technology platform as a service where they design, build, install, own, and operate the wastewater treatment system at no upfront cost. They only charge for performance on a per gallon basis so the process is very streamlined. I would be interested to find out more specifics on costs and savings that businesses gain from using the technology.


  3. Thanks for sharing this article! I wrote my most recent wordpress post on the reuse of treated municipal sewer water for industrial purposes, and although this is not exactly the same, it is interesting to see how water reuse concepts can be utilized from one industry to the next. I wonder if similar water reuse processes have or will be utilized for wine production in California. According to a researcher at the University of California at David, California vineyards on average use 318 gallons of water per gallon of wine, just for irrigating grapes. Considering how water stressed California is, this would be a good technology for widespread implementation.

    Click to access Economic%20wine%20and%20water.pdf


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