Background Introduction

This application note is provided by Cambrian Innovation, the leading wastewater treatment solution provider in US. They built a plant to help Anchor Brewing, one of the oldest beer producer in US,  to deal with their wastewater and make sure that after their treatment, the wastewater’s NMHC concentration should be within allowable limit. Cambrian used our Nutech 3000 to perform the NMHC testing.

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Nutech 3000 THC & NMHC Analyzer Application Note for Wastewater VOCs Testing in San Francisco

To say the Nutech 3000 FID meter is impressive to our plant operators at Cambrian INC. is truly an understatement. We were required by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to validate that our new process water reclamation and reuse plant built for the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California was not emitting non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) as a byproduct of our biological digester based water reclamation process. We were required to use a FID meter and we knew that we needed to obtain a FID meter that was portable, agile, and had a very high resolution of measurement. In the search for an appropriate instrument for use in the NMHC testing at our new plant, we found that the market for FID units is dominated by large, and quite expensive, non-portable benchtop units. What we needed was a unit that was small, self-contained, battery powered, and able to be moved throughout our plant to our testing locations by a single person.

Fortunately, Nutech worked with us to identify our challenges and agreed to let us use their Nutech 3000 FID meter on a trial basis to determine if it would meet our needs and expectations. What we found is this meter, with its capabilities, along with its small and portable design, has truly surpassed all of our expectations and needs. Even more importantly, the cost of the unit compared against its capabilities is very low given the high costs of other FID units on the market.

What is the Nutech 3000?

The Nutech 3000 is a Flame Ionization Detector (FID) meter that provides results for non-methane hydrocarbons levels (along with other capabilities). NMHC results are based on how much methane gas vs. non-methane hydrocarbon gasses are held in the gasses emitted from our process at specific testing points within our facility. For our needs, these NMHC levels are measured in parts per million (PPM).  In just a few steps and with an extremely lightweight package, our plant operators can get very accurate readings. Use of the device couldn’t be simpler. The sample intake wand is used to draw a sample and the Nutech 3000 performs all the gas testing and calculations in real time and logs the results for easy transfer to a computer.

Nutech 3000 Benefits

1. Increased Mobility

The Nutech 3000 streamlined our validation process by being 100% mobile. The lightweight meter, which is a total of about 26 pounds, is on a backpack with straps, meaning I was able to easily move it around our testing site without it hindering my work in any way. I even finished the designated site early because I didn’t have to waste time lifting and carrying excess weight. A lightweight tablet computer is the interface to the device and can be removed for easier downloading of data after the testing in the plant is completed.

2. Reduced Recording and Calibrating Times

One of the main things I noticed with this meter was how quickly it would give stable readings. Once I probed a sample and waited for the meter to stabilize, it took between 30 seconds to two minutes to give me a reading, and only 30-60 seconds for the reading to display on the tablet. Before I knew it, I was done with the site and had results ready to be downloaded and analyzed!

3. Convenient Tablet

The meter is operated by a detachable tablet that features a user-friendly interface with Wi-Fi communication capabilities. With the tablet, users can use the FID meter at a testing point and see the test results within 164ft of that site, meaning that they can move freely doing other tasks and not have to stay at one precise area to monitor the testing results.

This feature was especially handy for me because it took the complexities away from running a testing protocol. When I’ve used other portable monitoring meters in the past at plants like Anchor, I’ve had to keep a watchful eye on the testing process not only to ensure that each component is compliant, but to verify that the meter had no disruptions that would give inaccurate results. Ultimately, this meant that I could waste hours in one place at a particular testing point observing readings.

I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be a problem with the Nutech 3000. With just a few clicks, the tablet was powered up and ready to go. Thanks to it, there was never any confusion about where the meter was during the calibrating, stabilizing, and testing processes. With this ability to observe the testing in real time, I could then easily make quick changes as needed to my testing process if I observed any unexpected results instead of discovering the data at a later review time.

Nutech 3000 Final Verdict

When we initially received the Nutech 3000, we didn’t believe that such a small package would be able to handle the complexities of our testing protocol at our Anchor Brewing Company water recovery and reuse plant; especially because we had to verify to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District that none of our processes were emitting out of compliance non-methane hydrocarbons. Initially I thought I would have to resort to using the large and cumbersome meters that I have used in the past — and this wasn’t the case at all with the Nutech 3000.

The meter’s sensitivity and state-of-the-art technology gave me capabilities that weren’t possible with other machines. Not only did it provide lightning-fast test results, but the meter heated up quickly and maintained rock-solid stabilization during readings, meaning that I didn’t have to spend as much time and labor monitoring and fixing different factors that could cause inaccuracies. With the results I’ve received in the use of this instrument, I know that long term use of this meter would help our company save revenue and manpower without sacrificing quality because of its speed and accuracy.

Overall, I, along with everyone else at Cambrian, are more than satisfied with the Nutech 3000 and would use it again for any of our other plants that have the same requirements as our Anchor one. Just this product alone has made us excited to see what Nutech has in store for FID testing.

Photo: Cambrian Operator Evert Jacobson uses the Nutech 3000 to measure non-methane hydrocarbons at the Cambrian wastewater recycling facility operating to manage Anchor Brewing waste streams in San Francisco, CA.

Display of Nutech 3000 on site at Cambrian plant in San Francisco.