GE launches AnMBR technology, announces collaboration

By Erin Voegele | September 29, 2014

On Sept. 29, GE made two announcements regarding the introduction of its anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology, a membrane-based wastewater treatment technology that combines anaerobic digestion (AD) technology with GE’s ZeeWeed 500 membranes. In addition to announcing the launch of AnMBR, the company revealed a collaboration with PurposeEnergy Inc., whereby GE’s AnMBR technology and PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor will be combined as a solution to reuse industrial wastewater while also converting waste into energy.

In a statement, GE called the AnMBR technology an ideal solution for industrial wastewater with high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand concentrations that result in higher aerobic treatment operational expenses. According to GE, AnMBR provides reduced energy consumption, energy recovery and reduced sludge production both economically and reliably.

The company indicated that while the advantages of AD technology include energy savings by not requiring oxygen, reduced sludge production and reduced footprint, traditional AD process also can result in lesser effluent quality, process sensitivity, slow biomass growth rate, difficulty retaining methanogens and long-time or difficult-to-settle sludge. According to GE, by combining AD with its ZeeWeed membrane technology, the company has solved the issues associate with traditional AD processes, retaining methanogens in the anaerobic reactor, increasing methane production with no suspended solids in permeate and improving final effluent quality.

PurposeEnergy’s Tribrid-Bioreactor is an AD system engineered specifically for food and beverage industry byproducts. It separates hydraulic retention time from solids retention time, resulting in a greater than 99 percent reduction in organic load for wastewater, solids and slurries generated during food and beverage manufacturing.

According to GE, combining the AnMBR technology and the Tribrid-Bioreactor results in a complete retention of biomass and prevents the discharge of both organic and inert solids, significantly improving the final effluent quality with zero suspended solids.

“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.