In observance of today’s World Water Day, GE (NYSE: GE) will be participating in a White House Water Summit to build a sustainable water future through science and technology. GE—a premiere technology provider tackling tough, complex global water issues through innovation solutions—is also highlighting four water commitments over the next 10 years.
The White House is hosting the water summit to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. As part of its participation in today’s event, GE is highlighting four commitments to help develop a sustainable water future:
- GE expects to invest over half a billion dollars into research and development over the next 10 years to fuel GE’s innovation, expertise and global capabilities in advanced water, wastewater and reuse technologies to solve the world’s greatest water and wastewater challenges.
- GE’s advanced water treatment technologies, including drinking water, wastewater, reuse and desalination applications, have helped GE’s customers treat more than 3 billion gallons of water per day. GE intends to increase customers’ daily water treatment capacity to over 7 billion gallons of water per day in the next 10 years. This will help secure clean water supplies to communities and businesses all over the world.
- GE strives to reduce its global freshwater consumption to better support the communities where GE operates. Since 2006, GE facilities have reduced freshwater use in excess of 42 percent as part of its Ecomagination strategy. GE will continue this progress: GE has announced 2020 commitments to reduce freshwater consumption by an additional 20 percent from the 2011 baseline, which translates to a 1.8 billion gallon reduction in total annual water usage.
- The GE Foundation has invested over $4.7 million on programs supporting the design, installation and training of small-scale water purification units for community clinics and birthing centers to provide access to safe water. Over the next 10 years, these programs are expected to produce over 3 billion gallons of treated water at select health facilities in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Cambodia and Honduras. GE’s engagement in low and middle income countries are in partnership with Emory University, Assist International, GE’s water business and UNICEF.
GE has a long history of water innovation through advanced technology, and its developments are helping to build a sustainable and secure water future. In the past year, GE announced several new pioneering technologies. In the arena of energy neutral wastewater treatment, GE introduced its groundbreaking ZeeLung* Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) technology that is four times more energy efficient than existing aeration systems. With the energy used by water and wastewater treatment plants in the United States accounting for 35 percent of a typical local government’s energy budget, ZeeLung MABR is a simple solution that allows municipalities to achieve nutrient removal and/or capacity expansion in existing tank volumes while significantly reducing energy consumption.
Other key recent GE water innovations include the introduction of a new evaporation/solidification technology for flue gas desulfurization to meet the recently released U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines governing wastewater discharge from steam electric and coal-fired power plants. Designed to reduce costs, footprint and energy consumption while producing high-quality water, GE added two new product to its Procera* Seawater Solutions for desalination portfolio—the ZeeWeed* 1500 Rackless Modular System and the ZeeWeed 1000 Next Generation Cassette for seawater pretreatment to reverse osmosis systems. Finally, in the important realm of monitoring and diagnostics, GE launched several new additions to its InSight* Industrial Internet solution to improve overall water treatment plant performance.
“We are in the midst of a global water crisis, and GE is striving to help solve the world’s pressing water challenges with ongoing technology innovation, collaborative partnerships and a commitment to a sustainable water future,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and distributed power for GE Power. “Our planet’s water resources are being threatened by climate change, drought, population growth, waste and the rising demand for energy. To secure our water future, we need to conserve, recycle and reuse water, reduce consumption, adopt policies and continue to create innovative cutting-edge technologies.”