Carla Cassanova
Head of Sales for Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela
GE Water
View from the Top

Companies Tap Water Tech to Solve Shortages

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 16:24

Q: What companies or clients are interested in GE Water’s technologies that enable the reuse of water?

A: Water availability in Mexico has drastically changed over the past 20 to 30 years and this unfortunate trend has forced many companies to reuse their own industrial effluent or resort to recycling municipal water to compensate for shortages. There are several types of customers who want our technologies. The first are those companies and organizations with specific sustainability goals. Another client might not have access or sufficient access to water when starting a project or expanding a plant. This was the case with the plant we developed in Monterrey where we treated the residual water and turned it into demineralized water, which is purer than drinking water. The third and final type of customer we deal with simply wants to use GE Water’s technologies to help the environment. These clients do not approach us with financial goals in mind but simply out of their dedication to contributing to a healthy environment.

Q: What impact is the Monterrey water plant having on the potential for similar projects?

A: Monterrey is situated in northern Mexico so it experiences significant water shortages. The local government granted the company permission to build the plant on condition we use wastewater from the municipality and implement drainage systems to prevent effluent being released into the rivers. We provided our client with a technological solution in which all municipal residual water could be processed through a zero liquid discharge system so that no liquids would leave the plant. Through this process, liquid waste is replaced with a solid mass, which is much easier to handle in terms of disposal. This allowed our client to meet the regulations imposed by the government and means the plant will not consume freshwater from the municipality, creating an added social benefit. This is the biggest combined cycle project in Mexico, equipped entirely with GE technologies for power and water facilities.

We are seeing a significant increase in interest for this type of project. CFE has launched several energy projects, of which a considerable number face the same limitations as our Monterrey client in terms of water use. Due to the increased scarcity of water in Mexico, we perceive a trend toward the recycling of water and GE Water is here to meet this demand, as our main focus is on developing and offering water recycling solutions. Most of the large multinational companies have clear corporate sustainability goals, so it facilitates our objective of promoting water recycling.

Q: What strategies has GE Water deployed to stay ahead of the technology curve?

A: Our best practices are found in our water recycling technologies and that has made us leaders in the segment. GE invests significant amounts of money into R&D of new technologies for water recycling because innovation is at the core of our business. The company is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and new niches that have yet to be fully explored. GE Water bought IMP, a company that produces membranes, and we also acquired Monsal, a company that makes anaerobic wastewater treatment systems. There is a constant interest in growing with new, innovative technologies. That is not to say that it is easy to compete with companies that continue to use conventional technologies but our unique selling point lies in the fact that we seek to differentiate ourselves through innovation.

Q: What factors favor using the company’s water reuse technology?

A: GE Water has a particular focus on water recycling projects that favor the environment. Our water technologies are produced with materials that are not harmful to the environment and our philosophy on environmental conservation permeates all our business decisions. Regarding water recycling as a partial solution to complex water issues, we see three main factors on a global scale, scarcity being the first. Secondly, water is difficult to treat. And thirdly, regulations regarding water usage are becoming more stringent around the world. While certain countries may not yet realize the importance of using water sustainably, those that are dealing with the reality of water scarcity are willing to pay for our services.