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Many distilleries (typically associated with sugar mills) in India are keen to devise methods to derive more value from the spent wash.
Distillery spent wash is the unwanted residual liquid waste generated during alcohol production; the pollution caused by it is one of the most critical environmental issues today. Despite standards imposed on effluent quality, untreated or partially treated effluent very often finds access to watercourses.
Some of the sugar mills have started concentrating this spent wash and use it for composting. The spent wash is rich in COD and BOD, and thus a question that is arising is whether the spent wash could be used to recover more value - either using biomethanation or even using it along with bagasse for firing the boilers.
Do folks here know anything about the feasibility of using this spent wash in biomethanation or in combustion?
Depending on which vendor (and in which part of the world) you ask, anaerobic digesters could cost anywhere between $2 million - $ 4 million per MW. Now, that's a huge amount of money, well, it is almost the same as solar PV! (But solar PV costs are coming down all the time, so you can expect that figure to be much lower 3 years down the line).
Why should digesters cost so much? If they are just fertile grounds for methanogenic bacteria to have fun and break down organic matter into methane, what is the technology sophistication that makes it cost so high?
And more important, how can these capital costs be brought down?