Based in Bangkok, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited is Thailand's largest and one of Southeast Asia's largest beverage companies. It owns and distributes several significant brands, including Chang beer (the top-selling brand in Thailand), Mangkorn Thong and Sangsom rums.
Molasses is the main raw material used for the production of ThaiBev's spirits, which can result in difficult-to-treat wastewater. As a good corporate citizen, ThaiBev wished to remain environmentally conscious and advance its social responsibility efforts. Part of this initiative involved treating wastewater correctly and reducing fossil fuel consumption at its distilleries. ThaiBev knew it could leverage biogas created from the anaerobic wastewater treatment process to achieve lower fossil fuel energy costs. The company began researching engineering firms all over the world to find a suitable technology.
Despite the challenges of shipping, installing, commissioning, and guaranteeing equipment on international projects, ADI Systems had a reputation of always providing customers with the best treatment technology and service to suit each unique application.
ADI Systems was selected to provide five full-scale anaerobic digestion systems to treat molasses stillage at five different ThaiBev locations in Thailand. Each digestion system consists of an equalization pond, a 27,000 m³ (7,000,000+ gallon) low-rate anaerobic ADI-BVF® reactor, and an effluent holding pond.
The low loading rate of the upflow sludge bed reactor allow it to accept and treat high concentrations of degradable suspended solids and relatively high concentrations of fat, oil, and grease—substances that have a negative impact on granular systems. Very little nutrient removal occurs in the anaerobic reactor, and much of the complex organics and suspended solid material is slow to degrade. As a result, the BVF® reactor can extract more biogas from the same unit volume of waste.
The wastewater treatment systems ADI Systems provided for ThaiBev have shown very stable operation. Treated anaerobic effluent is valued for irrigation of agricultural land.
The primary purpose for these anaerobic digestion installations, however, was to generate biogas as a means of reducing fossil fuel energy costs. Sediment and moisture are removed from biogas generated from the BVF reactors so that it can be used in the processing plants through dual-fuel boilers. This has replaced over 80% of the heating energy requirements. ThaiBev is very pleased with the treatment results and the quantity of biogas produced.
The company received an “excellence” and an “honorable mention” nod from the Thailand Energy Awards in the category of off-grid energy recycling from wastewater treatment.