GE, PurposeEnergy Collaborate to Recycle Industrial Wastewater, Generate Energy

Oct. 6, 2014
The collaboration will generate renewable heat & power for the food & beverage industry

GE and PurposeEnergy Inc. announced a collaboration whereby GE’s new anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology and PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor will be combined as a solution to reuse industrial wastewater while also turning waste into energy.

GE’s AnMBR, which was introduced at WEFTEC 2014, utilizes its ZeeWeed 500 membranes in combination with an anaerobic bioprocess. AnMBR offers the ability to generate renewable energy and produce superior effluent quality for reclamation and reuse.

PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor is an anaerobic digester engineered specifically for food and beverage industry byproducts. It converts organic waste into clean water and energy, leading to a reduction in carbon footprint, cost savings and on-site production of renewable energy. Unlike traditional anaerobic digesters, the Tribrid-Bioreactor separates hydraulic retention time from solids retention time.

“We are pleased to be working with GE to bring these innovative technologies to the food and beverage industry. The solutions we are deploying treat organic byproducts, reduce the discharged volume of wastewater by 80% and generate renewable heat and power. GE’s AnMBR is helping PurposeEnergy set the new standard for food and beverage byproduct management,” said Eric Fitch, CEO of PurposeEnergy.

Combining PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor and GE’s AnMBR technology solves the issues associated with traditional anaerobic processes for food and beverage manufacturers. This design results in complete retention of biomass and prevents the discharge of both organic and inert solids. The result is an improvement in final effluent quality with zero suspended solids.

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products is biogas, which can be combusted to generate electricity and heat. Advantages of anaerobic treatment include energy savings by not requiring oxygen, reduced sludge production and reduced footprint. However, the traditional anaerobic processes have disadvantages such as lesser effluent quality, process sensitivity, slow biomass growth rate, retention of methanogens and difficult-to-settle sludge.

“When AnMBR—GE’s newest membrane technological advancement—is paired with PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor digester technology, industrial users can reap the benefits of recycling wastewater and generating renewable sources of energy. It is the embodiment of GE’s commitment to energy neutrality,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

Source: GE

Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).
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