Over a year ago, I had talked a little about a company called Nanologix that was using the wastewater from Welch’s Grape Juice to produce hydrogen. The pilot project from the Ohio-based Nanologix and Gannon University Professor Rick Diz uses microorganisms to break down the sugar in the wastewater.
The 300-gallon holding tank where the process takes place is called the Bio Reactor. The tricky part of this experiment is to encourage the hydrogen producing microorganisms to grow (and grow rapidly) while discouraging the methane-producing microorganisms from growing.
Currently, the one Welch’s grape juice plant in Erie, Pennsylvania spends $1.5 million per year on electricity and waste treatment. The executives at this company are building a large bioreactor later this year, which they hope will take a huge dent out of the electric and waste treatment bills. If successful, this technology could be used in hundreds of other beverage making plants as well.