Biogas from cleaning waste water

01 December 2013

SASOL and General Electric’s GE Power & Water have together developed a 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.

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.

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