SASOLBURG, South Africa, November 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Sasol and General Electric (NYSE: GE)'s GE Power & Water have together developed new water technology that will clean waste water, while also providing biogas as a by-product for power generation. This new technology, known as Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Technology (AnMBR), will be further developed at a new demonstration plant at Sasol's R&D Campus at its Sasol One Site in Sasolburg.
"This is another exciting technological innovation that will further entrench our position as a world-leader in gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology and synthetic fuels production. While sophisticated water treatment technologies are already employed at Sasol's major operations, this particular development will enhance our efficiency even further," said Ernst Obersholster, Sasol Group Executive for International Energy, New Business Development and Technology.
"GE is excited to be partnering with Sasol on this initiative that further outlines our commitment to supporting the sustainable development of South Africa with advanced infrastructure technologies, services and solutions. This partnership demonstrates what the private sector can achieve by working together for the benefit of growing the economy and making the economy competitive," said Tim Schweikert President and CEO for GE South Africa.
AnMBR involves anaerobic micro-organisms that are able to live in environments devoid of oxygen, such as sediment layers on floors of lakes, dams and the ocean. These organisms are almost ubiquitous - found in the human digestive system, under the earth surface, deserts and mountain peaks, to name a few.
Sasol currently uses aerobic microbes to treat GTL and coal-to-liquids (CTL) effluents in ORYX GTL, Qatar and Synfuels, Secunda facilities.
One of the by-products from the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process is an effluent stream rich in organic acids and alcohols. Traditional (aerobic) treatment technologies treat this effluent by converting the organics to carbon dioxide. The benefit of the AnMBR is that the micro-organisms convert these organics into a methane rich bio-gas which can then be used for power generation. This then results in an overall efficiency improvement in the GTL process. By converting the effluents to a valuable product (power) there is a resulting improvement in the GTL value proposition. Another benefit of the AnMBR is that it produces almost 80% less waste biosolids than the previous generation process.
The treatment of GTL derived effluents is complex and challenging. Sasol pioneered the treatment of effluents from the GTL process in Ras Laffan, Qatar, where effluents are treated and recycled for use as irrigation water in the city of Ras Laffan.
Sasol's second generation offering, which is currently being designed for the US GTL facility, is the aerobic Membrane Bioreactor (MBR). The AnMBR helps maintain Sasol's leadership position in this field by converting wastes into value-adding products.
Micro-organisms break down complex organics, such as proteins and carbohydrates through a process called hydrolysis, to simpler building blocks, such as sugars that provide food to the micro-organisms. The waste produced is bio-gas, which can be used as feedstock to generate power.
"The organics in waste water generated from our operations have proven to be the ideal food, or substrate, for Anaerobic micro-organisms," said Thulani Dlamini, Executive Manager Research and Development at Sasol Technology. "We will now continue to explore and develop this technology further with the potential for commercial application to our future GTL facilities."
Sasol has been developing the technology for a number of years with promising results. The partnership with GE is aimed at leveraging GE's ecomagination qualified ZeeWeed 500 membrane and decades of membrane bioreactor experience and Sasol's expertise in biological treatment of FT derived effluents.
"The new AnMBR is one of the many solutions that can be developed in the Petrochemical and Refining environment to benefit all other industries," says Daniele Scenarelli, GE Account Executive for Sasol. "This strategic partnership, which was signed in 2010, symbolizes a new way of doing business between Customers and Suppliers. It is a collaborative approach and a mutual commitment to technology development and innovation aimed to accelerate the commercialization of this new technology."
Bench scale test work has been on-going for the past year with promising results and with the construction of a pilot plant at Sasol's R&D facilities this improves the potential for commercialization of this technology.
It is anticipated that the technology will be commercially ready early in 2015. Sasol will have exclusive rights to apply this technology to FT based plants whilst GE will have the right to market the technology for other industrial uses.
Committed to excellence in all we do, Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemical company that leverages the talent and expertise of our more than 35 000 people working in 37 countries. We develop and commercialise technologies, and build and operate world-scale facilities to produce a range of product streams, including liquid fuels, high-value chemicals and low-carbon electricity.
While remaining committed to our home-base of South Africa, Sasol is expanding internationally based on a unique value proposition.
About GE Power & Water
GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar; biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world's most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water's six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Products, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE's largest industrial business.
GE is an advanced technology, services and capital company with the scale, resources and expertise to take on the world's toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in the areas of energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE is committed to leadership, partnership and human progress.
GE has more than 300 000 employees globally, of which over 1 500 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. GE is committed to growing its Africa leadership base by investing in young leaders.
Forward-looking statements: Sasol may, in this document, make certain statements that are not historical facts and relate to analyses and other information which are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements may also relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies. Examples of such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding exchange rate fluctuations, volume growth, increases in market share, total shareholder return and cost reductions. Words such as "believe", "anticipate", "expect", "intend", "seek", "will", "plan", "could", "may", "endeavour" and "project" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and there are risks that the predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. If one or more of these risks materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. You should understand that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors are discussed more fully in our most recent annual report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on Form 20-F filed on 9 October 2013 and in other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The list of factors discussed therein is not exhaustive; when relying on forward-looking statements to make investment decisions, you should carefully consider both these factors and other uncertainties and events. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date on which they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any of them, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Alex Anderson, Group Media Manager
Direct telephone +27(11)441-3295; Mobile +27(0)71-600-9605;
Jacqui O'Sullivan, GM: Group Communication
Direct telephone +27(11)441-3252; Mobile +27(0)82-883-9697;
Communications Manager - Southern Africa
GE Corporate Africa
Follow GE Power & Water and GE's water business on Twitter @GE_PowerWater and @GE_Water.
SOURCE Sasol and General Electric