R&D Overview of the Chair of Mechanical Process Engineering / Water Technology

Requirements to be met by modern water research in a national and international context

An essential global task is the necessity to provide water resources with defined quantity and quality which must be approached by interdisciplinary research and teaching. In a national context, the main driving forces in research and development are currently statutory requirements, demographic change, partly obsolete infrastructure as well as environmental and resource protection. In the international context these driving forces are the already partly clearly visible huge impact of climate change, the diminishing available water resources, the almost non-existing infrastructure in developing countries and the population explosion, particularly in coastal cities.

Depending on the intended use, the water quality of the available water resource is not sufficient and must be treated accordingly. With diminishing resource quality and rising requirements for process and drinking water the water treatment becomes more elaborate and expensive. The increasing impact on limited fresh water resources compels us to go beyond the linear economic model in which we withdraw raw materials, produce and discharge. The goal must be the development towards a circular concept in which raw materials are recycled and contaminated resources are opened and re-used. Natural resources must be protected and simultaneously the quality of the discharged water into the rivers in chosen areas has to be improved. This means new treatment processes have to be developed or existing processes must be made more efficient, effective and therefore less expensive.

Research topics of the chair of Mechanical Process Engineering with the focus on water technology

In order to respond to the above mentioned challenges from a water technical point of view, the chair of Mechanical Process Engineering / Water Technology works on the key competences membrane filtration and adsorption to investigate the following 3 research fields:


  • Exploitation of contaminated water resources
  • Process optimisation and simulation
  • Circular Economy

Current topics in ongoing research projects are advanced effluent water treatment from waste water treatment plants, re-use of hyper-saline waste water as well as exploitation of contaminated ware resources (e.g. oil containing waste water or eutrophic water, respectively water with high algae content).  The focus will be on the removal of hygienic relevant microorganisms and anthropogenic micropollutants. Key aspects of process optimization and simulation are integrated membrane systems and hybrid membrane processes with either ceramic or polymeric membranes as well as physico-chemical modifications of activated carbon to enhance the selectivity of the adsorption of organic compounds. Furthermore, new methods for material testing and process optimization are developed.

The research fields from the chair of Mechanical Process Engineering / Water Technolgy tie in perfectly with the focus areas from the faculty of engineering.