Environmentally Sustainable Waste/Wastewater Treatment System Using Memthane® (AnMBR)

The Challenge

Jack Link’s, a leading protein snack producer, was in need of a water treatment solution at its facility in Alpena, South Dakota. Jack Link’s previous wastewater treatment system consisted of a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) system for FOG (Fats, Oils, & Grease) and TSS reduction. Effluent from the system was discharged directly to the sewer system, and the city municipal treatment plant was becoming overloaded as a result of the facility’s production increases and high BOD loads.


The Solution

Veolia Water Technologies partnered with Jack Link’s to develop a process that would solve the facility’s high BOD discharge issue, while simultaneously creating biogas as a byproduct to reduce the plant’s energy costs.

Veolia’s treatment process utilizes Memthane® Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) technology combined with a SulfothaneTM Biogas Desulfurization System.

Memthane pairs anaerobic biological treatment with ultrafiltration (UF) membranes to create an industry-leading anaerobic membrane bioreactor system. The bioreactor converts the plant’s waste into a methane-rich biogas, while UF membranes create a high-quality effluent that is discharged into the municipal sewer system.

Biogas from the Memthane system is then treated by Veolia’s Sulfothane system. This treatment step removes sulfur compounds from the biogas, which are highly corrosive and can damage downstream equipment. The scrubbed biogas is then sent to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Generator to create electricity onsite and offset energy costs. 


The Result

The Memthane and Sulfothane systems have exceeded performance and client expectations. Final permeate discharge from the Memthane system averaged less than 100 ppm BOD for greater than 98% BOD removal rates. Membrane operation during the first 24 months of operation was stable with flux rates ranging from 9 to 18 lmh.

The Sulfothane system was able reduce the biogas’s H2 S levels from 6,000-8,500 ppm to less than 10 ppm, which is well below the generator’s manufacturer specifications.

Due to sustained process stability and consistent high quality effluent, the city treatment plant operation has improved greatly.


Energy Positive Waste/Wastewater Treatment Plant

The system is not only energy efficient, it is energy positive when operating at full flow. At this time, the biogas byproduct produced in the anaerobic  reactor generates more electricity than the system consumes. The result is a fast return on investment for the capital purchase. 

About Jack Link's

Jack Link’s is a global leader in protein snacks and the No. 1 meat snack manufacturer worldwide. Headquartered in Minong, Wisconsin, Jack Link’s is a family-owned company that represents a heritage of quality and consumer trust.

Key Figures

  • Flow: 50,000 - 60,000 gpd
  • Peak Flow: 100,000 gpd
  • BOD: 4,000 - 12,500 ppm
  • COD: 9,000 - 19,000 ppm
  • TSS: 1,500 - 6,000 ppm

Memthane® Advantages

Memthane is ideal for high-strength and high-solid waste streams from industries such as food processors, dairies, bio-ethanol producers, and many other food and beverage production facilities.

The effluent is free of suspended solids to facilitate recovery of nutrients for fertilizer production and/or water recycling to the plant. The valuable methane-rich biogas produced can be sent to a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit to generate electricity for plant operations. In some applications, 100% of the production facility’s energy requirements can be achieved.


SulfothaneTM Advantages 

Sulfothane is environmentally safe, has minimal power requirements and uses a clog-free scrubber that requires no maintenance. It’s compact design and small footprint allow for easy integration into new or existing biogas facilities. Sulfothane is fully automated for ease of operation, and the elemental sulfur produced allows for easy, low cost disposal compared to competing scrubbing systems.