Reuse Brew, anyone? Global water technology company Xylem, headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, has just showcased a new beer made from purified and treated wastewater, according to a story in Water World. Even more astonishing is the fact that the new brew debuted in Germany, a country where beer is something akin to a religion.
It debuted in June at the International Water Association’s International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse that was held in Langenhagen. The beer is part of Xylem’s efforts to advance the conversation on sustainable water supply strategies, including the use of recycled water, also called reuse water, to tackle worldwide water shortages. It was showcased along with a range of the company’s other water reuse solutions.
To produce the beer, Xylem partnered with Berlin water utility Berliner Wasserbetriebe and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (the Berlin Center of Competence for Water).
In the story, Jens Scheideler, Xylem’s global reuse product manager is quoted as saying, “Through creative partnerships, we are focused on shining a light on global water challenges and the opportunity to address issues like water scarcity with recycled water. The reality is that water scarcity is an issue facing communities in every corner of the world, but solutions exist to tackle this challenge.”
And it’s a very big challenge. The story states that over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.
“Accelerating adoption of reuse technologies requires a combination of smart water policies and education,” Scheideler is further quoted as saying. He cited a survey the company recently made of California residents. It found that 87 percent of the respondents said they were willing to use recycled water in their daily lives. The majority also supported public policies to promote the use of recycled water. “We must spread the word that it is water quality that counts, not its history,” Scheideler added according to the story.
“With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless,” Ulf Miehe of Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin is reported saying.
The story also quoted Regina Gnirss, head of research at Berliner Wasserbetriebe as saying, “With additional treatment steps, we are taking wastewater treatment in Berlin to the next level using new, innovative technologies. We will also continue to produce our drinking water sustainably from groundwater, because nature by itself also has immense purifying power. Here in Berlin, we know that water reuse can support the regional water balance, especially during dry periods.”
Reuse Beer isn’t the only brew Xylem has cooked up in recent days. Not long ago, it teamed up with the city of Manchester, England and Heineken Manchester to produce “Raining Champions,” a limited-edition beer made with purified rainwater collected from the rooftop of Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. And in the U.S., the company recently partnered with the Pure Brew Alliance on a reuse beer project.
German stein hoisters should be reassured by their country’s multistage water treatment process. In its sewage treatment plants, wastewater undergoes three, sometimes four purification steps. The fourth stage removes micro pollutants such as medical residues, biocides or other chemicals. Next comes the Oxelia process, an integrated solution created by Xylem that uses a combination of ozone and activated carbon.
The ozone oxidizes harmful micro pollutants and kills germs and bacteria. Then, biologically activated carbon filters eliminate substances that were oxidized by the ozone and removed by microorganisms. The water is then of adequate quality to be released back into rivers and lakes.
To achieve drinking water quality, additional treatment is required. After the Oxelia process, the water is passed through a further activated carbon filter, which absorbs substances that weren’t removed by the ozone or the microorganisms. A reverse osmosis process then further enhances water quality.
In order to guarantee the highest possible quality and consumer safety, the water undergoes a final treatment stage: the Xylem MiPRO process that uses ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide. This advanced oxidation process brings the water to the highest possible purity level.
Will Reuse Beer be on tap at your local tavern anytime soon? That remains to be seen.