According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, world milk production is projected to increase by 177 million tonnes by 2025, at an average growth rate of 1.8% per year. As global demand for dairy products increases, so does the resulting wastewater and the associated disposal costs. Smart dairy processors are investing in on-site wastewater treatment and milking it for all that it's worth.
On-site wastewater treatment helps dairy processors make better use of precious resources and gives them more control over their sustainability efforts. Anaerobic digestion technologies, such as the ADI-BVF® reactor, are a great fit for treating dairy processing wastewater. This energy-efficient process is perfect for warm wastewater with high concentrations of suspended solids, whey, fat, oil, and grease (FOG).
Energy efficiency can be accomplished with anaerobic digestion systems, which typically require significantly less energy to operate than aerobic systems. Anaerobic digestion also produces valuable biogas, which can be used in boilers to produce heat, burned in cogeneration engines to produce both electricity and heat, or, in some cases, sold back to the energy network for utility credits.
Dairy products that are no longer considered “retail ready” (i.e., expired yogurt, cheese, etc.) can be added to on-site anaerobic wastewater treatment systems, using the energy in the food waste to maximize biogas production. This strategy also helps divert dairy products from landfills, and minimizes harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Dairy processors can reuse treated wastewater in cooling towers or to irrigate crops and fields. Many cheesemakers, for example, put the water extracted from raw milk during cheese making to good use in cleaning equipment and facilities. With the right technology, potable water applications are also an option.
Dairy processing wastewater is full of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus. Biosolids from wastewater can be recycled as a fertilizer to enrich soil, helping to grow and protect agriculture, a necessary component of dairy processing. Making better use of wastewater sludge places essential nutrients and water back into the soil, while reducing hauling costs and emissions.
Those in the dairy industry who have made the shift to treating wastewater as a resource rather than waste are realizing the first-hand benefits.
Download our brochure to learn how ADI Systems can help you better manage dairy processing wastewater.