GE wins contract to remove selenium

This is the first full-scale installation of GE’s ABMet technology in Europe and will help Umicore to achieve low parts-per-billion (ppb) levels of heavy metals in wastewater discharges.

ABMet can remove elevated levels of selenium, nitrate and metals found in wastewater streams in many industrial, mining and utility applications, such as at coal-fired power plants. It can achieve up to 99% removal of selenium and can discharge treated effluent containing 5 ppb or less of selenium, depending on wastewater make-up.

The ABMet system comprises microbes seeded in a bed of activated carbon that acts as a growth medium so that the microbes can create a biofilm. Wastewater passes through the biofilm and a reduction reaction occurs, facilitating the conversion of soluble selenium into elemental selenium, which is then removed from the system along with other metals and nitrate. The ABMet system at Umicore’s Antwerp plant will be able to treat an average 160 m3/hour (1,013 gpm) of wastewater.

“GE’s ABMet technology is a key part of our strategy to be able to meet new regulations and also to demonstrate Umicore’s commitment to eco-friendly operations,” said Peter van Herck, manager environmental affairs, Umicore Hoboken.