GE MBR Wastewater Plant
GE’s immersed ZeeWeed 500 membrane – Photo courtesy GE

GE has introduced new membrane-based wastewater treatment technology that can generate renewable energy from wastewater.

The anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) combines anaerobic digestion technology with GE's ZeeWeed 500 membranes. It is targeted at industrial customers who are looking to increase the amount of water they reuse while also meeting more stringent discharge limits.

During anaerobic digestion, 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.

According to GE, its new technology is an ideal solution for industrial wastewater with high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand concentrations that result in higher expenses for aerobic treatment. AnMBR allows for reduced energy consumption and sludge production, together with energy recovery.

GE also announced on Monday an agreement to combine its AnMBR technology with PurposeEnergy's Tribrid-Bioreactor, an anaerobic digester built specifically to deal with byproducts from the food and beverage industry.

According to GE, this combination of technologies solves the issues associated with traditional anaerobic processes for food and beverage manufacturers. The design results in complete retention of biomass and prevents the discharge of both organic and inert solids, bringing about an improvement in final effluent quality with no suspended solids.

"The solutions we are deploying treat organic byproducts, reduce the discharged volume of wastewater by 80 percent and generate renewable heat and power," commented Eric Fitch, CEO of PurposeEnergy.