ABMet is a patented biological water treatment system that uses naturally occurring microbes to reduce the amounts of selenium and other metals that can escape from coal mines and power plants and enter U.S. freshwater supplies.
GE’s ABMet process involves running wastewater through a biologically active filter, which is “seeded” with naturally occurring microbes that target selenium and other potentially toxic metals. While selenium is typically difficult to remove from wastewater, ABMet enables the metal to be captured and converted into an easy-to-treat form.
Most of the initial ABMet systems that have been installed in the United States feature customized designs that enable mining and utility customers to meet their site-specific compliance requirements. However, in response to customers seeking a cost-effective system that could be installed quicker than custom-designed ABMet systems, GE now is offering its bioreactor water treatment product in a scalable, modular format that further reduces installation time and overall project costs.
The new modular ABMet system is particularly well-suited to meet the operational, regulatory and economic priorities of the coal mining industry.
“With coal mine operators and power companies facing increasingly stringent government limits on their emissions, we are offering ABMet to help these crucial industries continue to support our country with vital energy supplies and jobs while also meeting their regulatory obligations to protect freshwater supplies, fish and other wildlife,” said Jeff Connelly, vice president, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water.
“The deployment of new technologies to help the coal industry reduce its environmental impacts also benefits the economies of the United States and Canada,” Connelly noted. For example, many ABMet components are produced in North America, while the fabrication work is largely performed at GE’s water and process technologies plant in Ontario, Canada.
Earlier versions of customized ABMet systems are operating at several mining sites and four coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. In April 2011, GE announced that utility American Electric Power (AEP) would become the third U.S. utility to install an ABMet system at one of its coal-fired power stations to comply with its water permit requirements. AEP is installing ABMet at its Mountaineer power plant in West Virginia.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first established a national water quality standard for selenium in 1987. In 2011, the agency is expected to propose a revised limit based on current selenium levels in fish and also is developing revised effluent limitation guidelines for the steam-electric power industry, which are expected to be released in draft form in 2012.
ABMet is certified under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy (ge.com/energy)—GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas—work together with more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.
Beth Coffman, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: beth.coffman[.]mastopr.com.
Howard Masto, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: howard.masto[.]ge.com.
GE news, Masto Public Relations / E: information[.]mastopr.com.