GE reveals two-year LEAPmbr demo results

Results from a two-year membrane bioreactor (MBR) demonstration project, unveiled by GE at the WEFTEC event in the USA on 17 October 2011, reveal the company’s new LEAPmbr technology considerably outperforms its existing MBR systems.

The 5 MGD (19,000 m³/d) MBR system at the Marco Island wastewater treatment facility in Florida, USA, consists of five GE MBR process trains, each with six cassettes of GE ZeeWeed 500D modules. GE and Marco Island have collaborated over the past two years to demonstrate various technology innovations that are part of the new LEAPmbr system.

In its most recent demonstration beginning in May 2010, GE replaced a ZeeWeed 500D cassette in one of the working trains with a ZeeWeed 500D LEAPmbr cassette, side-by-side. A dedicated air-blower was provided for the LEAPmbr cassette, which was instrumented for data collection and put into use in real-world, varying conditions.

Data from Marco Island demonstrates savings from the GE LEAPmbr system compared with existing GE MBR technologies include:

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

    Blower operating data revealed the 30% reduction in energy use for membrane air-scour, which is the result of LEAPmbr technology’s more efficient membrane air-scour system. Fewer valves, equipment and controls and an overall simpler design drive the lower maintenance requirements.

    Based on projections by GE, if implemented throughout the entire MBR system at the Marco Island facility, LEAPmbr technology would reduce annual energy use by an amount equivalent to the average annual energy use of 25 to 30 homes, based on US energy consumption data.