Improved UF membrane, aeration behind new GE MBR

Improvements to GE’s ZeeWeed membrane, tank redesign and a new aeration system are behind the new membrane bioreactor (MBR) introduced by the company during last week’s Singapore Water Week.

The result of a four-year development effort, LEAPmbr is claimed to reduce energy costs by 30% compared with existing GE MBR technologies.

Other claimed improvements include:

  • 15% improvement in productivity (greater water-treatment capacity)
  • 50% reduction in membrane aeration equipment and controls, leading to a simpler design with lower construction, installation and maintenance costs
  • 20% reduction in physical footprint leading to further reduced construction and installation costs as well as lower ongoing consumption of cleaning chemicals.
  • These savings derive from innovations to the widely-used GE ZeeWeed 500 MBR product line, which uses reinforced hollow-fiber ultrafiltration (UF) membranes. Yuvbir Singh, general manager, products and systems for water and process technologies at GE, told D&WR that these innovations included:

  • Increased surface area and increased productivity of the ZeeWeed module
  • Optimization of the membrane tank design
  • Introduction of a new membrane air scour system called LEAPmbr Aeration Technology.
  • “The benefits of LEAPmbr Aeration Technology include simplified aeration system piping and controls, a reduction in blower size, and significant savings in the energy required for membrane air scour,” said Singh.

    “In developing this major new product, we knew energy costs and reduced operating budgets would be key customer concerns because we face the same challenges ourselves,” said Jeff Connelly, vice president, engineered systems – water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.

    “Moreover, because MBR technology is increasingly displacing conventional wastewater treatment methods, operational simplicity is key for those who are new to MBR; and for customers who are space-constrained, a compact footprint is a make-or-break proposition. Our LEAPmbr system addresses all of those issues,” 
Connelly added.