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Sasol, GE Develop New Water Technology, Boosting Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) Value Proposition

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.

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