Water management: Optimized water use, water reuse, and integration with energy management
Intelligent concepts for the purification and distribution of water are more in demand than ever. In order to ensure the supply of the various sectors in which we need water (private sector, agriculture, industry), even in times of water scarcity exacerbated by climate change, Fraunhofer IGB relies on semi-centralized water and wastewater management, which is linked to appropriate energy and nutrient management in the sense of the nexus approach. We also take into account geographical and climatic conditions, such as seasonal water shortages in arid and semi-arid regions.
Integrative approach and advantages:
- Cost-effective water management solutions
- Semi-centralized treatment of wastewater streams
- Resilience through coupling with waste management concepts, energy supply from renewable sources and future-oriented building technology
- Digitalization with the help of intelligent sensor networks
- Process and wastewater as a source of raw materials and energy
- Degradation of organic matter by biological processes
- Material and energetic utilization of organic load
- Recovery of nutrients
We develop water management concepts for rural regions or urban areas (new housing developments, urban districts in need of redevelopment) as well as for leisure resorts, tourist centers and hotel complexes. The system is particularly useful wherever there is no water infrastructure with a sewer network and central sewage treatment plant. Or where the old infrastructure can no longer be adapted to new challenges arising from climate change or the population moving away.
Possibilities of oxidative and electrolytic technologies: Elimination of micropollutants, precipitation and desalination
In numerous production processes water is used as a solvent or means of conveyance, as cooling water or washing water. Increasing costs for the purification and disposal of wastewater, regional or seasonal shortage of water, and a growing awareness of environmental issues within companies have increased water recycling. Water is used several times and impurities have to be removed selectively. In many cases the currently established processes and systems cannot do the job without adaptation and support from new, selective systems.
The use of oxidative and electrolytic processes for water treatment is one of the main fields of research of Fraunhofer IGB. We work on the improvement of existing processes such as adsorption, filtration, flocculation/precipitation, electrodialysis, homogenization and disinfection as well as on new approaches in process and unit operations. Together with industrial partners, new concepts and technologies are being developed at Fraunhofer IGB also to industrial scale. Water treatment and the circulation of process water can thus be carried out economically and sustainably.
With oxidative and electrolytic processes, it is possible to oxidize dissolved contaminants or pollutants that are difficult to break down. In general, electrolytic and oxidative processes have the following advantages:
- Complete mineralization of pollutants possible
- Staff savings and increased reliability
- No increase in salinity, which enables recirculation
- No disinfection by-products – in particular no halogenated compounds
- Less handling of hazardous chemical agents
- Little or no sludge formed
- Hygienic outflow water
- Robust process – discharge criteria can be met reliably
- Available quickly – standby operation possible
- Suitable for varying quantities and qualities of wastewater
At present the focus is on industry-oriented studies of landfill leachate and textile effluents. The aim here is to meet the discharge criteria of the communal treatment plants in a cost-effective way. In other projects we have developed new technical solutions for UV treatment and anodic oxidation together with our industrial partners. These projects aim to make the solutions ready for market launch.