GE's Next-Generation MBR Wastewater Treatment System Slashes Energy Use, Boosts Productivity
- Evolutionary LEAPmbr Design Offers Customers More Cost-Effective Solution to Meet or Exceed Increasingly Stringent Wastewater Treatment and Water Reuse Standards
- New Membrane Bioreactor Technology is Based on Proven High-Performance, Rugged ZeeWeed Hollow-Fiber Membranes
GE has introduced a next-generation membrane bioreactor (MBR) wastewater treatment technology called LEAPmbr, which addresses pressing water quality and operational cost issues faced by owners of municipal, industrial and residential water/wastewater treatment facilities worldwide.
The result of a four-year development effort, the new LEAPmbr system offers the lowest lifecycle costs available from any MBR technology, while also being cost-competitive with conventional treatment. These cost savings, along with operational simplicity and a compact footprint, derive from innovations to the popular GE ZeeWeed 500 MBR product line — the most widely-used, reinforced hollow-fiber ultrafiltration technologies available. The cost and efficiency savings of the GE LEAPmbr system compared to existing GE MBR technologies include:
- A minimum 30 percent reduction in energy costs;
- A 15 percent improvement in productivity (greater water-treatment capacity);
- A 50 percent reduction in membrane aeration equipment and controls, leading to a simpler design with lower construction, installation and maintenance costs;
- A 20 percent reduction in physical footprint leading to further reduced construction and installation costs as well as lower ongoing consumption of cleaning chemicals.
Development of the LEAPmbr system was driven by GE's product innovation and development capabilities and more than 25 years of experience with proven, highly reliable MBR technology in diverse applications around the world.
"MBR technology is one of the fastest-growing water-treatment technologies in use today, and GE has just made it an even better and more economic choice for greenfield plants, expansions and retrofits alike," said Jeff Connelly, vice president, engineered systems — water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. "In developing this major new product, we knew energy costs and reduced operating budgets would be key customer concerns because we face the same challenges ourselves. Moreover, because MBR technology is increasingly displacing conventional wastewater treatment methods, operational simplicity is key for those who are new to MBR; and for customers who are space-constrained, a compact footprint is a make-or-break proposition. Our LEAPmbr system addresses all of those issues."
One of the key growth markets for MBR technology overall is the global municipal wastewater treatment sector. Until now, this sector has waited for the costs of newer MBR technologies to become more competitive with existing applications. The new LEAPmbr system answers the MBR cost question while offering customers a 21st century solution to comply with more stringent water quality requirements.
MBRs replace the solids-separation function of secondary clarifiers and sand filters used in conventional activated sludge systems. GE's MBR technology consists of a suspended-growth biological reactor integrated with GE's high-performance, rugged ZeeWeed hollow-fiber ultrafiltration membranes.
The ZeeWeed membranes are immersed in a membrane tank, in direct contact with the water to be treated, which is known as mixed liquor. Through the use of a permeate pump, a vacuum is applied to a header connected to the membranes. The vacuum draws the water through the ZeeWeed membranes, which filter out solids, along with bacteria and viruses. The filtered water, or permeate, then can be further treated, reused or discharged as needed.
ZeeWeed has been proven in more than two decades of wastewater treatment and water reuse. Nearly 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology to meet or exceed stringent wastewater treatment and water reuse standards.
GE unveiled its LEAPmbr technology during Singapore International Water Week, which took place July 4-8, 2011.
GE is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world's toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit www.ge.com.
GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy www.ge.com/energy — GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas — work together with more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38B, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.