GE’s Next-Generation MBR Wastewater Treatment System Slashes Energy Use, Boosts Productivity

01 July 2011

GE has introduced LEAP*mbr, a next-generation membrane bioreactor, which the company says 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 established GE ZeeWeed* 500 MBR product line – the most widely-used reinforced hollow-fibre ultrafiltration technologies available.

According to the company, the cost and efficiency savings of the GE LEAPmbr system compared to existing GE MBR technologies include:

  • A minimum 30 per cent reduction in energy costs
  • A 15 per cent improvement in productivity (greater water-treatment capacity)
  • A 50 per cent reduction in membrane aeration equipment and controls, leading to a simpler design with lower construction, installation and maintenance costs
  • A 20 per cent reduction in physical footprint leading to further reduced construction and installation costs as well as lower ongoing consumption of cleaning chemicals

Jeff Connelly, vice president, engineered systems – water and process technologies for GE Power & Water said, “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.

GE’s MBR technology consists of a suspended-growth biological reactor integrated with GE’s high-performance, rugged ZeeWeed hollow-fibre ultrafiltration membranes. 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.

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