ClearCove Systems wins NYSERDA funding for biogas project

By ClearCove Systems Inc. | February 14, 2014

ClearCove Systems Inc. of Rochester announced it has been awarded funding by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to demonstrate a new wastewater treatment system that is expected to save energy while reducing treatment costs.

The technology also is expected to bring an additional benefit: the creation of a carbon-rich byproduct that can be used as a superior fuel for generating biogas through anaerobic digestion.

The demonstration will take place at two sites in upstate New York. NYSERDA has provided $300,000 for these two projects. ClearCove is contributing an additional $300,000.

“This generous support from NYSERDA further validates our vision,” said ClearCove CEO Greg Westbrook. “We believe our technology supports NYSERDA’s goal of allowing wastewater treatment plants to be more sustainable through a combination of energy savings and on-site energy production.”

ClearCove will install its patented system at the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility in the Finger Lakes and at the Nott Road Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Capital Region Town of Guilderland.

ClearCove has invented a screening technology that enhances the settling techniques that water treatment plants typically use to process sewage. ClearCove's patented process reduces energy use by removing more organic matter from the waste stream before it undergoes aeration or secondary treatment.

At the same time, the study seeks to show an additional benefit: that ClearCove's system creates an organic byproduct that can be used for anaerobic digestion -- the process of breaking down organic materials to create a biogas that is burned to generate electricity.

ClearCove studies have demonstrated that the organic matter captured by its primary treatment system and used in anaerobic digestion generates three times more biogas than organic matter that is typically taken from secondary treatment systems does. This will allow facilities to even further offset their energy use with on-site renewable energy generation.

The Ithaca plant already has on-site digesters. The Nott Road plant is currently looking into bringing its byproduct to a nearby digester, which would reduce the facility's current cost of transporting and disposing the waste.

Jason Turgeon of U.S. EPA Region 1, Lauren Fillmore of the Water Environment Research Foundation, and Rich Lyons, executive director of the Albany County Sewer Authority, have agreed to serve as advisory committee members for the project.

EPA reports have estimated that a typical municipal wastewater treatment plant spends 40 percent of its total operating costs on removing organic matter from wastewater -- a significant amount, since wastewater treatment can represent one-third or more of a municipality’s entire utility bill. The ClearCove process removes most of the organic waste using a low-energy, gravity-driven process.

“We hope to bring our wastewater plant in Ithaca to the point where we are not only meeting our energy needs with onsite biogas production, but are also generating surplus energy for outside use,” said Ithaca Chief Operator Dan Ramer. “We anticipate that ClearCove’s primary treatment process will be instrumental in lowering our energy consumption and in increasing the amount of biomethane we are generating in our anaerobic digesters.”

"I feel ClearCove's Flatline technology could have a dramatic impact on the entire operational efficiency of the plant, from energy usage to substantial savings in sludge processing and disposal." said Keith Edwards, chief operator of the Nott Road Wastewater Treatment plant.

ClearCove Systems Inc. is focused on wastewater treatment solutions that produce cleaner water, reduce energy costs, and enable more efficient production of biogas from organic waste. Its patented primary treatment process offers greater environmental protection from storm events and helps wastewater treatment plants to reach energy self-sufficiency through lower utility costs and greater bio-fuel production potential.