A technological development from General Electric (GE) may change the water purification industry, as the company announced on July 2 that it had created a system that successfully processed drinking water without producing waste.
Current water purification mechanisms, according to the company's press release, utilize approximately 75 to 85 percent of the supplied liquid, with the rest being discarded after the process is complete. With the AquaSel non-thermal brine concentrator (NTBC) system, GE estimates that companies that treat drinking water can achieve 99 percent efficiency while producing minimal amounts of waste byproduct. The program began testing in September 2011, and was designed and built through a partnership between the technology giant's GE Power and Water and GE Global Research divisions.
"Billions of gallons of usable water are lost every day because today’s water treatment technologies have techno-economic limits on how much water can be treated and reused," Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO of GE's water management department, said in the release. "GE's NTBC technology can turn billions of gallons of lost water into clean, usable water by virtually eliminating the wastewater streams in a variety of industrial and municipal treatment processes."
During the test phase, GE built a prototype that, over the course of 1,000 hours converted 1.5 million gallons of water that would have been classified as unusable by current purification standards. The company claimed in its release that if bottling firms utilized its system, water manufacturers could save nearly 30 million gallons of discarded water per day, the equivalent of 11 billion gallons a year. With that much extra capacity, GE said, roughly 150 million people a day could have access to clean drinking sources.