Roche to use energy from wastewater


Aquantis to build wastewater plant at Penzberg site

Roche Diagnostics is to build an anaerobic plant for the biological pre-treatment of a partial wastewater flow at its 350,000m2 Penzberg site in Upper Bavaria, Germany. The plant, which produces energy rich biogas, will supplement an existing membrane bioreactor system.

Aquantis, a German subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies based in Ratingen, will build the anaerobic plant for the pharmaceutical firm.

The new system will pre-treat carbon-rich partial wastewater flows as well as biologically degradable liquid waste from the bio-technological production. A 480m3 Biobed EGSB reactor (Expanded Granular Sludge Bed) will be used for the biological treatment. In the course of this process biogas is produced, collected and processed. It will be used in a combined heat and power plant in the Penzberg site boiler house to generate both forms of energy.

The amount of electricity gained will cover more than 90% of the energy requirements of the wastewater treatment plant, and the thermal energy will be used to pre-heat the boiler feedwater of the power station. Further savings will be achieved by eliminating the upstream aerobic high-load step. Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by about 950 metric tons per year, substantially reducing Roche Penzberg’s carbon footprint.

Assembly of the anaerobic plant is planned for end of March 2011, with start-up in November 2011.

More than 500 Biobed reference plants have been installed worldwide, of which the Aquantis team has built 60. Roche says it chose a Biobed system because it is a proven process technology.

The Penzberg plant is one of the largest biotech centres in Europe. The site is also an important centre for development and production in healthcare diagnostics. Approximately 4,600 people are employed at the site.