GE, American Water Form New Digital Initiative

March 22, 2016
GE will also participate in White House Water Summit

GE and American Water announced they have formed a new digital initiative to identify and explore advances in the Industrial Internet of Things to help solve pressing challenges in the water industry and help lead the country toward a smarter water future.

GE is a digital industrial company, and American Water is the nation's largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. Together, they are collaborating on a digital alliance that will enable the water industry to harness the power of data and analytics to improve national water infrastructure. The digital collaboration announcement is being made in conjunction with the World Water Day celebration.

The GE-American Water initiative will include the use of GE’s Predix, a cloud platform built exclusively for industry that powers the Industrial Internet. The companies will collaborate to develop the next generation of software and data analytics solutions to help the industry reduce the environmental impacts and operating costs associated with water production, treatment, transportation and delivery.

“We are excited to launch our new digital collaboration with American Water by combining our collective expertise in software, water technologies and utility management to help the United States build a more sustainable and secure water future,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO of water and distributed power for GE Power. “We are developing software, advanced predictive analytics and diagnostic tools that will give operators the real-time data they need to better manage their critical water infrastructure assets 24 hours a day.”

“These are critical times for our nation’s water infrastructure,” said Susan Story, president and CEO, American Water. “We're proud to collaborate with GE in seeking new and innovative ways to use data analytics to continue our tradition of providing solutions to our nation’s water challenges.”

White House Water Summit

GE also announced that it will be participating in the White House Water Summit to build a sustainable water future through science and technology. The White House is hosting the water summit to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. As part of its participation in the event, GE is highlighting four commitments to help develop a sustainable water future:

  • GE expects to invest over half a billion dollars into research and development over the next 10 years to fuel its capabilities in advanced water, wastewater and reuse technologies.
  • GE’s advanced water treatment technologies, including drinking water, wastewater, reuse and desalination applications, have helped its customers treat more than 3 billion gpd of water. GE intends to increase customers’ daily water treatment capacity to over 7 gpd in the next 10 years. This will help secure clean water supplies to communities and businesses all over the world.
  • GE strives to reduce its global freshwater consumption to better support the communities where it operates. Since 2006, GE facilities have reduced freshwater use in excess of 42% as part of its Ecomagination strategy. GE has announced 2020 commitments to reduce freshwater consumption by an additional 20% from the 2011 baseline, which translates to a 1.8 billion gal reduction in total annual water usage.
  • The GE Foundation has invested over $4.7 million on programs supporting the design, installation and training of small-scale water purification units for community clinics and birthing centers to provide access to safe water. Over the next 10 years, these programs are expected to produce over 3 billion gal of treated water at select health facilities in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Cambodia and Honduras. GE’s engagement in low and middle income countries are in partnership with Emory University, Assist International, GE’s water business and UNICEF.

In the past year, GE announced several new technologies. In the arena of energy neutral wastewater treatment, GE introduced its ZeeLung* membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology that is four times more energy-efficient than existing aeration systems. With the energy used by water and wastewater treatment plants in the United States accounting for 35% of a typical local government’s energy budget, ZeeLung MABR allows municipalities to achieve nutrient removal and/or capacity expansion in existing tank volumes while significantly reducing energy consumption.

Other recent developments include the introduction of a new evaporation/solidification technology for flue gas desulfurization to meet the recently released U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines governing wastewater discharge from steam electric and coal-fired power plants. In the realm of monitoring and diagnostics, GE launched several new additions to its industrial Internet solution to improve overall water treatment plant performance.

“We are in the midst of a global water crisis, and GE is striving to help solve the world’s pressing water challenges with ongoing technology innovation, collaborative partnerships and a commitment to a sustainable water future,” said Markhoff. “Our planet's water resources are being threatened by climate change, drought, population growth, waste and the rising demand for energy. To secure our water future, we need to conserve, recycle and reuse water, reduce consumption, adopt policies and continue to create innovative cutting-edge technologies.”

Source: GE

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