GE water recycling technology to benefit first US power plant built to new stricter emissions limits

Source: GE

GE (NYSE:GE) announced its zero liquid discharge (ZLD) wastewater recycling technology will be installed at the Russell City Energy Center (RCEC), a new 600-megawatt (MW) natural gas and steam combined-cycle power plant being built in Alameda County, Calif. 

RCEC is the first power plant in the country to be built under a voluntary agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to meet stricter limits on greenhouse gases and other emissions. The plant is expected to enter commercial service in 2013 and supply energy to the San Francisco Bay region. 

As part of the plant’s arsenal of technologies to improve overall energy efficiency and reduce the plant’s environmental footprint, GE is supplying lead contractor Bechtel with its ZLD system for onsite wastewater treatment and recycling. 

“GE’s ZLD system is an example of how technology can play a vital role in helping utilities and governments reduce the impacts of energy production on the world’s vital fresh water supplies,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. 

Power plants are major industrial consumers of water to support their operations—chiefly for power plant cooling, steam production and other production processes. But with the United States and international communities seeking to preserve the world’s dwindling supplies of fresh water, the public and the private sectors have begun collaborating more closely to increase the deployment of industrial water recycling technologies. 

“GE’s ZLD technology was selected for the RCEC project after project leaders visited a reference power plant in Orlando, Fla., and observed the effectiveness of that facility’s ZLD system,” Markhoff noted. 

GE‘s 400 gallons-per-minute brine concentrator and mixed-salt crystallizer will utilize a skid-mounted design to help Bechtel reduce field construction costs. GE’s ZLD equipment is scheduled to be delivered between the fourth quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. 

Powered by cleaner burning natural gas, combined-cycle plants like the Russell City Energy Center are significantly more efficient than older fossil fuel generating stations still in operation. RCEC’s combined-cycle power system will capture the exhaust heat from gas turbines to produce additional electricity. 

Calpine, one of California’s largest power providers, currently operates 38 power plants in the state, which combined are capable of generating more than 5,700 MW. This is equivalent to almost 10 percent of the state’s peak power demand and is enough electricity to power more than 5 million households. 

The RCEC project is jointly owned by affiliates of Calpine Corporation and GE Energy Financial Services.

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