Quantalux Blog

News, events, observations, industrial and otherwise, from a Quantalux point-of-view.

Q-Calc: A new App for managing food waste

 Many wastewater treatment plants are intrigued with the idea of increasing biogas production by accepting food waste, but are concerned with process stability. As part of a Phase I SBIR from the USDA, Quantalux is developing a software decision tool called Q-Calc that provides operators with the ability to predict the digester’s health and stability when adding food waste to manure or sludge. Q-Calc uses biochemical parameters to assess a wide range of key parameters such as Organic Loading Rate, ammonia levels, and elemental ratios (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus).  This software helps operators set the optimum feedrate when adding food waste, brewery wastewater, FOG, beverage waste or dairy waste. Q-Calc also computes the cost-benefit of accepting a given feedstock by balancing the increased revenue with disposal costs. Q-Calc is currently in beta testing and will be available in mid-2018 for iOS and Android.

The potential market for this app is large. In the U.S., there are nearly 1300 wastewater treatment plants that use anaerobic digesters to process wastewater, but less than 20% of these plants use the biogas from the digesters to generate electricity or heat. Those remaining 1000+ treatment plants are missing out on the benefits of renewable energy production (electricity and biofuels) and the potential cost savings offered by digestion. Internationally, anaerobic digestion is a growing trend for the sustainable processing of waste and renewable energy production.

Q-Calc is part of a comprehensive decision tool to help anaerobic digester operators to optimize the performance of their systems. Sponsored by the USDA/NIFA SBIR Phase I program, the toolkit will be a valuable tool for wastewater facilities to assess the financial and environmental benefits of anaerobic digesters.

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