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Fulcrum's Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility Advances Wastewater Recycling and Reuse

Nevada, United States
Challenge: Faced with water scarcity remote desert location, Fulcrum needed a partner to design and operate a cost-effective zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system.
Solution: Aquatech conducted in-house testing of feedwater composition and worked with Fulcrum to design a technology configuration exceeding stringent water quality requirements.
Results: Aquatech's ZLD system will ensure the efficient water recycling and effective wastewater management while remaining cost-effectiveness.
This case study showcases how Fulcrum BioEnergy leveraged Aquatech's global experience and customized zero liquid discharge technology to efficiently recycle and reuse water to combat water scarcity at its Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility. 
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On Site Team

The Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility.


Aquatech to deliver low-cost, low-footprint wastewater treatment solution.

Transforming Landfill Waste into a Sustainable Energy Solution

Bioenergy refineries are redefining the possibilities of landfill waste by converting it into valuable chemicals and other products, effectively turning what was once considered unusable into a resource for the future. 

Fulcrum is at the forefront of innovation in bioenergy refineries, turning landfill waste into chemicals and products. Their commitment to sustainable waste solutions and resource conservation led to the creation of the Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility in Storey Country, Nevada. 

This pioneering project consists of two phases and two locations, including a feedstock processing facility (FPF) adjacent to one of the largest landfills in the western United States and a biorefinery set to process around 175,000 tons of feedstock annually, yielding 11 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic crude oil, commonly referred to as ‘syncrude.’ This valuable resource will undergo further processing by a petroleum partner, primarily to produce transportation fuel, primarily jet fuel.


The desert climate and remote location of the Sierra Plant made water scarcity a major concern for Fulcrum. With water conservation and sustainability as a key focus, it was imperative for the facility to efficiently and cost-effectively recycle as much water as possible. Additionally, given existing waste feed contracts and transportation clients, Fulcrum sought a partner capable of mitigating risks while ensuring water reliability and providing long-term support. 

Their optimal choice was a company capable of designing, building, operating, and maintaining a proven and dependable zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system delivered on time and within budget. 


Aquatech was selected for this project due to its extensive global experience executing design, build, operate, and maintain (DBOM) projects, especially in addressing novel and challenging applications requiring fully customized solutions that minimize risks. 

Aquatech’s project initiation involved comprehensive in-house testing of the feed water composition to collaboratively design a technology configuration with Fulcrum that not only met but exceeded the site’s stringent water quality requirements. 

A complete and unique combination of technologies was proposed, designed and analyzed for risk mitigation with Fulcrum. The solution comprised a unique combination of technologies: 

  • BioCORE™ Fluidized Bed Bioreactor: As a pivotal step in wastewater treatment, the BioCORE biological process utilizing specialized media known as biocore was employed. This approach proves highly effective in treating high-strength wastewater without chemicals, consistently achieving superior effluent quality. Notably, it eliminates the biodegradable organics (BOD) in Fulcrum’s wastewater.
  • EnviQ® Membrane Bioreactor (MBR): An additional biological method was integrated into the system to further enhance the wastewater treatment process. EnviQ MBR utilizes a flat-sheet PVDF membrane, delivering ultrafiltration (UF) quality water. This step significantly reduces biomass, safeguarding the downstream reverse osmosis (RO) units. 
  • HERO™ High-Efficiency Reverse Osmosis: Advancing to the next stage, HERO technology was implemented. HERO operates within a high pH environment, a feature that addresses the treatment of challenging waters and operates continuously in a cleaning mode, achieving an impressive recovery rate exceeding 90%. 
  • HEVAP™ Process Crystallizer: Finally, to efficiently manage the remaining reject feed, the HEVAP process crystallizer was incorporated. This crucial step facilitates the recovery of residual water while facilitating the disposal of the remaining waste in a crystalline form.
  • FEDI® Fractional Electrodeionization: FEDI plays a critical role in maximizing reusable water production while keeping costs and environmental footprint to a minimum. 
Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility Process Flow Diagram


The system guarantees the efficient recycling of every available drop of water while effectively managing the challenging conditions of wastewater, all while maintaining cost-effective operations. Beyond its design and construction capabilities, Aquatech also brings decades of experience in operation and maintenance, with a proven track record of meeting commitment. 

On site construction of Fulcrum's Sierra BioFuels Plant & Feedstock Processing Facility


Get in touch with us today to discover how Aquatech can assist you with your water and wastewater treatment requirements.

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