Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about;

NewGen AD wastewater treatment


Biogas production systems


1. How is it that NewGen produces NO SLUDGE?

NewGen produces no organic sludge. All of the organic matter is digested within NewGen.

2. How does NewGen accomplish digestion of all organics?

Microbes do the work in wastewater treatment and biogas production.  The more microbial workers, the more efficient the digestion and cleaning. First, NewGen makes use of the EKO GEA Additive – assisting the breakdown of fat, carbohydrate, and protein nutrients in the hydrolysis stage, performing  ion exchange to rid the hostile waste environment of ammonia (NH4) and hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), breaking down long-chain-fatty-acids (LCFA’s) and essentially paving  the way for microbial health and proliferation. Then, NewGen concentrates huge numbers of microbial workers into its  porous bio-media. Here’s the difference, as seen under a microscope - microbes have been stained to “light up” in Fig. 1, below:

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Fig. 1. Micrograph left - Notice how much space there is between microbes in conventional wastewater treatment plants and biogas digesters. Here, microbes have to “wait” to bump into food.

Micrograph right - Notice how concentrated the microbes are on NewGen bio-media?

More workers = better efficiency, and NewGen produces exponentially-more microbes.

This explains the efficiency of NewGen. 

3. So if there is no organic sludge – what happens to the inorganics?

Some  of the inert inorganic compounds flush out with the effluent grey water as fine mineral particles.  Some larger particulates will load into the hydrolysis, over time, as a sand-like inorganic sludge – at a very slow rate.  This inorganic “sludge” is not sludge as we know it because it is mineralised inorganic material, not smelly organic sludge.  NewGen’s inert sludge can easily be pumped out of the hydrolysis tank , but requirement for this activity is very infrequent and depends on the waste stream. Note that this inorganic sludge does not require treatment as it is fully mineralised and stable.

4. Grey water effluent from NewGen – what is this?  Can it be re-cycled or re-used?  What are the benefits?

Grey water from NewGen is beneficial as irrigation water because it is full of minerals and beneficial microbial life for soils and plants. Healthy soil microbiology is key to soil health and fertility. NewGen grey water does not have NPK fertilizer content, as these nutrients have been digested in the microbial cleaning process. It can, however, be used as washing water, irrigation water, or re-cycled into NewGen when water is required for diluting waste streams and biogas feedstocks.

5. Does the bio-media in NewGen need to be cleaned, replaced, or re-charged in any way?

No.  NewGen’s cristobalite bio-media is vulcanized stone, specially sourced from a remote area of the world for the following properties: it is especially porous,  robust, and it contains a huge amount of surface area in which microbes lodge themselves to do their work.  It also has great physical filtration capacity.  Microbes consistently proliferate, digest waste, and die. They “self-clean” NewGen’s bio-media and do not need to be replaced – ever.  Other sources of “fixed film” and “moving bed” bio-media often become clogged with microalgae and lignocellulosic materials. NewGen’s natural cristobalite is the ideal bio-media, and EKO GEA searched the globe for the very properties which set NewGen apart.

6. How is it that NewGen promotes only microbes which are  “beneficial” to the wastewater treatment and biogas production processes?

EKO GEA Additive is the ideal growth media for microbes – feeding and protecting them, first by providing ion exchange and ridding their environment of toxins , then by providing unique nutrients (oligosaccharides and trace elements) boosting health and proliferation. When we introduce EKO GEA Additive into waste or feedstock, microbes flourish. EKO GEA is the only company in the world which approaches waste treatment by promoting the microbial health (feeding and protecting) indigenous microbes already present in waste streams. Microbes are very competitive. Beneficial microbes are much more prevalent than harmful and pathogenic microbes (survival of the earth and all its species is proof of this fact).

7. What  is the maximum solids content for NewGen?

The ideal solids content is 3%.  We dilute higher-solids waste streams with water to reach the required 3% level, and after the first batch is diluted, we use NewGen’s grey water effluent  - recycled back into NewGen, to dilute the waste feedstock thereafter.

8. What other pre-treatments are required for NewGen?

  • Food waste-to-biogas - Maceration or pulping to 1mm particle size is required for food waste.  This not only makes the waste stream palatable for NewGen, but maceration dramatically increases the biogas potential of food waste, and it should be required, no matter the digester type.
  • Animal manure – wastewater treatment and biogas production - Solids separation is recommended for animal manure. This addresses a critical sustainability need for farmers:
    • Solids separation allows farmers to take advantage of the NPK fertilizer value needed by the crops on most farms (the liquid goes into NewGen for waste treatment and biogas production, and the solids are composted using EKO GEA Additive for high-quality compost within a 6-week timeframe).  See Question 12, below for more information on nutrient management.
  • Human sewage - Screening is required for human sewage – a standard wastewater treatment pre-procedure.  No other pre-treatments are required – just EKO GEA Additive which is dosed as early as possible in the process – sometimes on the barn floor to take advantage of our Additive’s odour and pathogen reduction mechanisms.
  • High-FOG (Fats Oils & Grease) waste streams like restaurant and slaughterhouse wastewater – aeration is sometimes required as a pre-treatment to convert fats to nitrates/nitrites before these nitrogen compounds can be digested anaerobically in NewGen.

9. How long does it take to commission a NewGen plant?

Due to the efficiency of NewGen, operators do not require the long commissioning time required by conventional wastewater treatment plants and biogas digesters.  NewGen begins working immediately.  We recommend waiting 1 week for compliance levels to be met on COD, BOD, TSS, N & P requirements.   NewGen’s efficiencies also mean a much smaller plant is required to do the work of huge installations.  A smaller plant & footprint = lower cost.

10. What are the operating costs of NewGen?

The Additive is the only direct operating cost. Additive is dosed at 50ml/m³ for wastewater treatment and 200ml/ m³ for biogas production.   If pumps are required to move the waste/feedstock to NewGen, this is the only power requirement.

11. If  NewGen does not produce digestate, how do we retain the NPK fertilizer nutrients needed on our farm?

We recommend a solids separation step, with the liquid going into NewGen (for cleaning and/or biogas production) and the solids going into compost for NPK fertilizer.  This is the most efficient and effective way to achieve a closed-loop sustainable farming solution for waste treatment, nutrient management, and renewable energy production.  See “Farming Closed-loop EKO GEA Solution” for a full explanation.

12. Can I use a different bio-media, or must I use NewGen’s cristobalite?

You must use EKO GEA’s cristobalite.  We have searched the earth for the ideal bio-media, and our cristobalite is robust, porous, and over 96% silica.  Its properties account for the ability of NewGen to house and concentrate the amount of microbes into a small space.  Note that other forms of natural stone bio-media:

  • degrade over time (ours is “vulcanized” geologically, and never needs replacing)
  • are much higher in aluminum which interferes with biological performances
  • are not as porous – Every m³ of our cristobalite bio-media = 1 km² of surface area for microbial “workers”
  • are not as lightweight and do not have the  hydroscopic (unaffected by water) characteristics which defines our bio-media