UTZ Certified publishes the results of a four-year project on coffee wastewater treatment

AMSTERDAM, Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project by UTZ Certified has proven that is possible to generate energy, tackle climate change and protect water resources by treating discharges from coffee mills. The project started in 2010 with the goal of addressing environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140827/702499-a
Photo –
http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140827/702499-b

Tailor-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, ten in Honduras and one in Guatemala. The positive impact of the project on over 5,000 people in the region has inspired UTZ Certified to replicate the initiative in other countries.

Latin America produces around 70% of the world’s coffee and is the continent where 31% of the world’s freshwater resources are located. Yet coffee production generates a great amount of wastewater that is regularly released untreated into rivers, affecting aquatic fauna and flora as well as downstream communities. Additionally, coffee wastewater comes along with tons of organic waste and high toxicity which affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly methane, heavily contributing to climate change.  

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project has been implemented in a range of differently sized farms. The achieved results of the project range from preventing local deforestation of native trees to better indoor environments for families who replaced firewood with domestic gas stoves for cooking. Additional outcomes included:

  • Treatment of essentially all water used in coffee processing
  • Over 50% less water used during coffee processing
  • Generation of significant amount of biogas used to power households and coffee mills
  • Prevention of the release of greenhouse-gas emissions

“Coffee production is only environmentally sustainable when water is used efficiently and polluted water from the wet-mill process is treated. Local ecosystems do not have the capacity to clean the large amounts of contaminated fluids,” said Han De Groot, executive director at UTZ Certified. “Rural communities and coffee production depend intrinsically on a ready supply of fresh water. So if we want to talk about coffee produced in a sustainable manner then wastewater must be treated when released into the environment,” he concluded.

UTZ Certified is currently introducing the technology in Peru and Brazil. UTZ hopes to get further funds and industry’s support to replicate the initiative in Africa and Asia.

http://www.utzcertified.org

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— Project Designed to Mesh with Existing Electric Grid While Withstanding Extreme Weather Conditions and Providing a Clean, Reliable and Affordable Electricity Source

APIA, Independent Samoa, Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — SunWize Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions, today announced that it completed the installation of a 546 kW solar electric system for the Independent State of Samoa. The project with Samoa’s power utility, Electric Power Corporation (EPC), is the country’s largest, reducing Samoa’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.

“For too long we have had to rely on expensive diesel from other countries for our electricity needs,” said Rapa J. Young, EPC’s solar project team leader. “This system is moving us closer to independence using clean, reliable solar energy.”

The complete solar electric system, financed by the Government of Japan through the Pacific Environment Community Fund, spans three separate sites on the two Independent Samoan islands of Savai’I and Upolu. The Salelologa community of Savai’I and the Tanugamanono community of Upolu house the ground-mount installations. A third site, Vaitele, Upolu, is home to an additional ground-mount installation and a solar canopy for equipment storage.

The project is SunWize’s third system in the region, having successfully installed 1.8 MW at the airport in nearby American Samoa in 2012 and a smaller system at the VA Hospital in Pago Pago. Leveraging industry experience from these projects, SunWize deployed best practices for overcoming the logistical and construction challenges involved in installing solar on the South Pacific islands.

“Our previous projects in American Samoa and Pago Pago required a solar electric system that could withstand 124-mile per hour typhoon force winds and corrosive ocean air. We applied similar design and engineering principals to the ground mount systems and the solar canopy while also ensuring seamless alignment with the existing electric grid. We’re thrilled to be providing Independent Samoa with a robust source of clean energy,” said David Kaltsas, SunWize’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

Using the American Samoa and Pago Pago projects as models, SunWize also implemented a control plan that will limit corrosion and extend the life of the system for 25 years.

The solar electric project created 10 jobs between August 2013 and February of this year and will create additional jobs for the ongoing operation of the system.

ABOUT SUNWIZE TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

SunWize sells, finances and builds sustainable energy systems for the public, private and residential sectors. For over twenty years, customers have selected SunWize to deliver sustainable energy solutions on time and within budget. Based in San Jose with offices in CA, NY, OR, HI and AZ, SunWize has deployed 100s of MWs of solar throughout the Americas.

For more information, visit www.sunwize.com.

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