Friday, September 02, 2011

GE Power and Water

You never know who you are going to meet when you are out and about. I was recently at a crowded Starbucks and met a representative of GE Power and Water, Kevin Crockford. Kevin was kind enough to let me ask him a few questions for my blog.

ThermoPleat High Temperature Filter Elements
Filter Elements Source: GE

Q1: Many software companies (Bentley, Autodesk) are currently promoting Building Information Modeling (BIM) as part of their products. Does GE Water facilitate the inclusion of GE Water products into the design software? 

A1: To my knowledge, GE does not include our water products into design software.  Water treatment presents a unique process design and equipment selection challenge since the raw water to be treated can vary considerably from one location to the next.  If one assumes the client is starting with US EPA safe drinking water, you can more broadly apply an silver impregnated point of use activated carbon adsorption device for the removal of chlorine and residual amounts of soluble organics and an ultrafiltration membrane for fine particulate removal.

Q2: What type of cost savings can an water purveyor expect to save by using a single source for equipment, components and technical services? 

A2: The range of cost savings will vary depending on the size, complexity  of the treatment system required and volume.  I estimate a water purveyor could save anywhere from 10%- 20% by using a single source for equipment, components and technical services for CAPEX and another 10%-20% for OPEX over the useful life of the equipment.   On industrial water treatment systems I estimate the customer could save 10%-15% on the total installed cost of the system by using pre-engineered process equipment components and eliminating the competitive bid specification process.

Q3: Is the purification process of water more or less complicated then concentrating valuable products or materials. 

A3: Due to varying raw water quality, I would suspect the process of treating water to be more complicated.

ZeeWeed Source: GE

Q4: What’s the largest installation of GE water equipment in the world? 

A4: In terms of volume, our ZeeWeed  immersed hollow fiber ultrafiltration membrane technology  is used in drinking water treatment plants (e.g. San Diego, Toronto) with an average volume of  100 – 110 million gallons per day (MGD).  The largest municipal wastewater treatment application is 36 MGD in the state of Washington. 

For the designers of water and wastewater systems it would be beneficial for the inclusion of equipment process within the design process. After working on a wastewater treatment facility design and seeing all of the duplicated work that was required a single stream workflow would definitely provide efficiency. I guess the question would be how would manufacturers benefit from including their products in design software. The manufacturer’s would miss out on being able to interact with engineers and not really be given an opportunity to distinguish their system from their competitors. We’ll see how it shapes up in coming years.

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