Genesee. Magic Hat. Pyramid. Portland Brewing. These are some of the beer brands that are owned by FIFCO, formerly North American Breweries, which is owned by Florida Ice and Farm Co. FIFCO is based in Heredia, Costa Rica, but FIFCO USA is headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., and also owns exclusive rights to import and market the Labatt family of brands and the Imperial brand of beer in the United States. Just recently FIFCO’s umbrella company reduced its Costa Rican brewery’s environmental footprint with a Global Water and Energy wastewater treatment plant, and we found the biogas portion of the project fairly interesting for a boring Tuesday afternoon.
We don’t get many opportunities to cover brewery wastewater systems, but make sure you check out these nice features. FIFCO, which actually has more than 2,000 brands sold in 15 countries, produces more than 1.5 million hectoliters per year in Costa Rica, including beer, spirits, juices, carbonated drinks, energy drinks, wine and dairy drinks. The company expects to double this by 2025.
FIFCO’s installation of a new GWE wastewater treatment plant adds further sustainability credentials to a company that is already leading the way in this field. FIFCO Costa Rica was the first Latin American company to receive the certification “Zero Waste to Landfill. Read more about this certification here.
To treat the wastewater from the brewing, FIFCO collaborated with Global Water and Energy, a member of Global Water Engineering Group of Companies, to install a wastewater treatment plant at its facility in Heredia, Costa Rica. The process not only treats the wastewater efficiently but also converts organic matter into biogas, which can later be utilized to reduce the fossil fuel dependency of the company.
The system is designed to treat nearly 10,000 kg of organic load per day (kg COD/d) , with treatment efficiencies of approximately 95 percent. The plant adds to GWE’s more than 400 wastewater treatment plants, waste-to-energy and biogas utilization solutions installed globally, from which almost 140 were delivered to breweries.
GWE’s ANUBIXTM – B methane reactor allows the organic content to be converted to 4,800 Nm3/d of biogas, which is equivalent to 3,200 kg of heavy fuel oil per day. Such quantities of oil are worth approximately $US515,000 a year, which can not only contribute to significant savings but further increase the sustainability of the company. FIFCO can choose how to best utilize the valuable biogas generated. They can use it to power boilers or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, or they can opt to sell it back to the grid for a profit.
In addition to their Zero Waste Landfill certificate, FIFCO has other strong environmental credentials and operates under a corporate ethos of “Share with the world a better way of living.” The company has, as one of its seven environmental objectives, “To be a water, waste and carbon positive company through our brands by 2020.”