SINGAPORE, July 2, 2012 -- GE today introduced
its new Integrated Pump, an engineering breakthrough that
overcomes a significant technical obstacle for
larger desalination facilities by reducing the energy
demands associated with pumping water by at least 10 percent.
GE announced its breakthrough IPER solution during the 2012 Singapore
International Water Week in Singapore.
Considerable progress has been made in membrane and energy
recovery device improvements, dramatically lowering the energy
requirement of seawater reverse
osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants over the past 10
Until now, energy efficient positive displacement (PD)
pumps have been able to achieve significant energy savings in
smaller desalination operations. Meanwhile, modest
improvements to large, conventional centrifugal
pumps have been able to deliver only incremental energy
However, with IPER, GE is offering a new positive
displacement pump system that will significantly lower energy
large desalination plants.
Water and Sewerage Corporation,
a desalination facility in Tarpum Bay, Bahamas, has
installed a pilot IPER system to further demonstrate the efficiency
and reliability of the technology.
"IPER is designed to offer customers reliable up time for their
packaged desalination water treatment plants while
reducing their energy costs in a significant and quantifiable way,"
said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO-water and process
technologies for GE Power & Water.
"IPER represents a major economic and
technical break-through that is poised to
help desalination operators play an even greater role in
addressing the world's mounting water
scarcity problems." Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO GE
Power & Water.
The Earth's surface is 70 percent water, yet less than 1 percent
of it is usable. With water scarcity already affecting
one in five people around the world-a number that is expected to
climb to three in five within 20 years-IPER illustrates GE's
ongoing commitment to drive innovation in the
global water treatment and reuse, enabling the delivery
of cleaner water where it is needed most.
Lower-capacity desalination plants have often utilized
PD pumps because of their high efficiency and availability. These
small but efficient pumps are based on the use of a fixed geometry
and either rotating axial pistons or crank-driven pistons to
pressurize water in the chambers.
As the size and pumping capacity of these chambers increase,
these smaller PD pumps face mechanical challenges. As a result,
previous larger PD pumps have either featured a larger crankshaft
or high crankshaft speeds to overcome these mechanical challenges.
But due to the larger size and operating speeds, these solutions
have led to significant vibration and maintenance issues.
IPER solves these problems by eliminating the
crankshaft and replacing it with a unique hydraulic drive system
for both functions. This hydraulic drive powers three double acting
pistons in the water displacement unit and does this at very slow
cycle speeds as compared to traditional PD pumps.
These innovations allow larger SWRO systems that today use less
efficient centrifugal pumps to incorporate IPER positive
displacement pumps in the future. Since positive displacement
pumps are typically used on systems with a capacity of less
than 1,000 m3/day, this offers opportunities for any
plant of 1,000 m3/day or larger to achieve substantial
Since RO facilities typically require 53 percent less energy
than thermal desalination facilities, IPER's
introduction underscores how GE is committed to
helping desalination operators reduce their energy costs
during both the filtration and pumping stages.