Global Supplier Directory
Supplier Solutions
Whitepaper Library
Calendar of Events
Association Locator
Contents Pages
Market Research
Subscription Center

Daily News

Burning Coconut Shells - How GE's New Fridge Filters out Pharmaceuticals
Aug 20, 2012
 Printable format
 Email this Article

A new report describes how GE Appliances chose to use activated carbon from burned coconut shells as the media in refrigerator water filters that are intended to remove pharmaceuticals from tap water.

The new GE Report notes that some tap water has been found with contamination of pharmaceuticals like antibiotics, antidepressants, as well as medications for blood pressure and birth control. Many municipal water plants don't have the capability to remove these substances from the local water supply.

Andy Krause was part of the team that began addressing the issue with the development of the new water filter. He is currently a senior engineer at the GE refrigerator plant that opened in 2012 at Appliance Park in Louisville, KY to make the new refrigerator.

"One reason why many people go organic is because of trace amounts of pesticides in non-organic food," Krause said in the report. "We had to evolve filtration."

Krause, who specializes in water filtration, and the design team sought a filtration technology to remove pharmaceuticals as well as more common contaminants from tap water. This search led the team to choose activated carbon from burned coconut shells. GE said the coconut carbon is more porous and less dense than the more commonly used form of carbon, from coal.

"You can bind the carbon together in a way that creates lots of surface area for the [pharmaceutical] chemicals to bond with," Krause explained.

Small particles catch larger impurities when they stick to their surface, in a process called adsorption. Some additives then chemically trap the smaller pharmaceuticals molecules in a process called absorption.

The new filters are included in a French door refrigerator that GE began manufacturing in Louisville in 2012. The filter removes 98% of five trace pharmaceuticals from water and ice made in the appliance, including:
* ibuprofen (painkiller)
* atenolol (blood pressure medication)
* fluoxetine (antidepressant)
* progesterone (steroid hormone replacement)
* trimethoprim (antibiotic)

The popularity of the new fridge has already prompted GE to announce expanded production at the new plant. In June, GE said it would add 380 more employees to the second shift at the refrigerator plant, bringing the total new jobs at the plant to 772.

Back to Daily News


Daily News


Sep 24, 2014: GE has the highest ranked appliance brand website; h.h. gregg ranked top appliance retailer website

Sep 24, 2014: Haier becomes first refrigerator maker to offer a lifetime compressor warranty

Sep 24, 2014: New condensing dishwasher from Whirlpool's plant in Wroclaw, Poland

Sep 24, 2014: Index points to growth in consumer spending on tech products in remaining months of 2014

Sep 24, 2014: Manufacturing technology orders down in July

More Daily News>>

RSS Feeds
Appliance Industry
Market Research


March 2014: Market Research - 62nd Annual U.S. Appliance Industry Forecast
February 2014: Appliance Magazine Market Insight: December 2013
January 2014: Market Research - Appliance Historical Statistical Review: 1954-2012
January 2014: Appliance Magazine Market Insight: November 2013

Contact Us | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | Home
UBM Canon © 2014  

Please visit these other UBM Canon sites

UBM Canon Corporate | Design News | Test & Measurement World | Packaging Digest | EDN | Qmed | Plastics Today | Powder Bulk Solids | Canon Trade Shows