Water Briefs

July 1, 2012
New System Promises Improved Desalination Energy Efficiency

New System Promises Improved Desalination Energy Efficiency

GE has introduced a new Integrated Pump and Energy Recovery (IPER) system, which the company says can reduce energy demands associated with pumping water by at least 10 percent at larger desalination facilities.

Over the past 10 years, considerable progress has been made in membrane and energy recovery device improvements, dramatically lowering the energy requirement of seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants. Until now, energy efficient positive displacement (PD) pumps have achieve significant energy savings in smaller desalination operations because of their high efficiency and availability.

GE's IPER, Integrated Pump and Energy Recovery System

These small but efficient pumps are based on the use of a fixed geometry and either rotating axial pistons or crank-driven pistons to pressurize water in the chambers. As the size and pumping capacity of these chambers increase, however, PD pumps begin to experience vibration and maintenance issues and have proven less successful in larger desalination facilities.

IPER solves these problems by eliminating the crankshaft and replacing it with a unique hydraulic drive system for both functions. The hydraulic drive powers three double acting pistons in the water displacement unit and does this at very slow cycle speeds as compared to traditional PD pumps.

These innovations allow larger SWRO systems that today use less efficient centrifugal pumps to incorporate IPER positive displacement pumps in the future. Since positive displacement pumps are typically used on systems with a capacity of less than 1,000 m3/day, this offers opportunities for any plant above that size to achieve substantial energy savings.

Water and Sewerage Corporation, a desalination facility in Tarpum Bay, Bahamas, has installed a pilot IPER system to demonstrate the efficiency and reliability of the technology.

IPER is the latest system to join GE's desalination platform, which also features membrane technologies that transform seawater and brackish water into fresh water for drinking, irrigation and industrial applications. The company's energy efficient SWRO and electrodialysis reversal technologies accommodate a range of system sizes, across continents, for almost any salt or brackish water source.

Company Pilots New Water Recovery System

The Coca-Cola Company has developed and tested at commercial scale a first-of-its-kind beverage process water recovery system to produce high-quality water that meets and/or exceeds drinking water standards for use in non-product activities such as clean-in-place and bottle washing.

"Because responsible water management is at the heart of a sustainable future, overcoming today's water challenges calls for extraordinary action," said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. "We've assumed an active role in advancing innovation that conserves and sustainably manages water resources for the benefit of all -- communities, nature, and business."

The beverage process water recovery system provides water for reuse in selected operations, including clean-in-place and bottle washing. The system takes highly treated process water and further treats it using biological treatment in a membrane bioreactor, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, ozonation, and ultraviolet disinfection. The high-quality water meets and/or exceeds stringent drinking water standards.

Candy Company Fined for CWA Violations

Russell Stover Candies has agreed to pay a $585,000 civil penalty to settle alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its facility in Iola, KS, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency said.

In June 2008, EPA performed an audit of the City of Iola's pretreatment implementation activities. During the audit, EPA identified numerous program deficiencies, including Russell Stover's discharges of acidic wastewater to a publicly owned treatment works. In July 2009, EPA issued an administrative compliance order to Russell to cease discharges of its acidic wastewater and provide monitoring and additional information to EPA.

The violations were documented by sampling conducted by Russell Stover but did not stop until EPA issued the compliance order in 2009. After the 2009 order was issued, the company implemented pretreatment measures and enhanced its discharge monitoring.

"This settlement sends a clear message," EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. "Companies that use publicly owned treatment works to treat their wastewater must follow the law. In this case, Russell Stover had been discharging acidic wastewater for years, and deteriorated sewer lines and manholes in Iola."

The consent decree requires Russell Stover to perform compliance monitoring for a period of two years and submit a "Phase II" pretreatment plan if the monitoring shows non-compliance.

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