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.


Call for proposals of research projects requires more and more an integrated, interdisciplinary and integrated method of approach for any given problem. Third-party funded projects are almost exclusively acquired by joint chairs or joint university research groups. For this reason, our chair becomes involved together with other chairs from the faculty in central research areas such as resource engineering and tailored materials.

The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) has created the research program urban systems and the Centre for Water and Environmental Research (ZWU) in particular to challenge “water” as a central research topic. The ZWU gives the UDE the opportunity to propose an interdisciplinary research facility which stands out beyond national business competition and is perfectly connected to the program of the Chair of  Mechanical Process Engineering with focus on Water Technology. Moreover, numerous engineering and natural science programs at the UDE allow interdisciplinary research and teaching as well as intensive transfer of knowledge and technology in the task field of water science.

Connected to the professorship of the Chair of Mechanical Process Engineering / Water Technolgy is a position in the board of the IWW Water Centre. The IWW is a centre for consulting, research and advanced training in all water-related questions such as resource management, water catchment, distribution network, analytics, hygiene, economy, and management. The institute is integrated into a worldwide network consisting of scientific institutions, industrial R&D facilities, technical companies, standard institutions, organizations and public authorities. It makes the IWW a privileged platform for the acquisition of research projects, the transfer of research results into practice and the cooperation with industry and public authorities.

This cooperation enables a practical orientation of university research. Furthermore, outstanding possibilities emerge to shape and innovate the chair’s networks, interfaces and cooperation with other institutes or institutions in the national or international research landscape as well as water industry.


[1] Dixon, M., Staaks, C., Fabris, R., Vimonses, V., Chow, C. W. K., Panglisch, S., . . . Drikas, M. (2013). The impact of optimised coagulation on membrane fouling for coagulation/ultrafiltration process. Desalination and Water Treatment, 51(13-15), 2718-2725. doi:10.1080/19443994.2012.749367

[2] Keller, M., Panglisch, S., & Gimbel, R. (2016). Measuring hydraulic layer resistance and correlated effects in colloidal fouling of salt-retaining membranes. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, ws2016181. doi:10.2166/ws.2016.181

[3] Lutze, H., Panglisch, S., Bergmann, A., & Schmidt, T. C. (2012). Treatment options for the removal and degradation of polyfluorinated chemicals Polyfluorinated Chemicals and Transformation Products (pp. 103-125): Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-21872-9_6

[4] Panglisch, S., Kraus, G., Tatzel, A., & Lickes, J.-P. (2010). Membrane performance in combined processes including ozonation or advanced oxidation, powdered activated carbon and coagulation - Investigations in pilot scale. Desalination, 250(2), 819-823. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2008.11.049

[5] Panglisch, S., Nahrstedt, A., Tatzel, A., Kraus, G., Kolber, I., Schroeder, C., & Lickes, J.-P. (2012). Pilotuntersuchungen zum Neubau einer Talsperrenwasseraufbereitung in Luxemburg. BBR Fachmagazine fur Brunnen und Leitungsbau, 63(4), 66.