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GE announces first use of ZeeLung technology

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

GE has announced that the Yorkville-Bristol Sanitary District (YBSD) in the Fox River watershed in Illinois is the first customer for its new ZeeLung membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology. YBSD will use ZeeLung MABR to upgrade the existing plant to increase its treatment capacity within the existing biological reactors. The upgrade also involves modifications to enable biological phosphorous removal. When commissioned in 2017, the plant will be the world’s largest MABR system.

YBSD provides wastewater collection and treatment services for the city of Yorkville, Illinois, with a population of 18 035 residents. YBSD’s treatment facility is an activated sludge plant with a design average flow of 3.62 million gal./d. The plant is operating near its design load and to accommodate new industries within the city, YBSD sought a cost effective solution to increase the treatment capacity. The plant also faces more stringent discharge regulations for phosphorous.

"GE’s ZeeLung MABR technology will enable us to increase the treatment capacity within our existing footprint while also reducing the energy consumption of the plant," said Kevin Collman, Executive Director, YBSD. “The Fox River provides our community with recreation and a home for wildlife, and our expansion with ZeeLung also will increase phosphorous removal and help protect the watershed.”

ZeeLung MABR technology is a simple solution that allows municipalities to achieve nutrient removal and/or capacity expansion in existing tank volumes while significantly reducing energy consumption. It employs an innovative gas transfer membrane to deliver oxygen to a biofilm that is attached to the membrane surface. Immersing ZeeLung cassettes into mixed liquor increases the inventory of biomass in a treatment system thereby intensifying the biological treatment process. Oxygen is delivered to the biofilm by diffusion through the membrane, which reduces the energy required for oxygen delivery by up to four times compared to conventional aeration.

“When we introduced ZeeLung MABR last year, we knew it was going to be a transformative new technology for municipalities to upgrade wastewater treatment plants for nutrient removal and capacity expansion within existing plant footprints. As our first ZeeLung customer, the Yorkville-Bristol Sanitary District can increase treatment capacity to meet Yorkville’s growing industrial and residential population while also enabling phosphorous removal and reducing energy consumption,” said Kevin Cassidy, Global Leader, engineered systems, water and process technologies for GE Power.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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