With regard to their composition, characteristics of occurrence and required treatment targets, industrial process waters are highly specific to the sector and company from which they stem. Their treatment often requires complex technology combinations.
Fraunhofer IKTS offers a wide spectrum of services – from the analysis of process and requirements to the development of methods supported by experiments and the transfer of treatment plants to practical operation on the pilot scale. The institute makes use of its extensive project experience gained in the chemical, petrochemical, foodstuff, ceramic, textile and paper manufacturing fields and other processing industries.
Today, the most urgent challenge faced by centralized and decentralized municipal waste water treatment lies in establishing strategies and powerful methods for the retention or elimination of anthropogenic micropollutants and their transformation products while keeping costs at acceptable levels. Among other things, such methods are key to containing the spread of multiresistant pathogens in the environment. Beyond this, IKTS supports municipal operators in reducing the energy demand and costs of existing processes such as activation or sludge treatment without losses in performance. At the same time, the institute integrates specific technologies to recover important resources, such as phosphor. IKTS has several technological solutions in these fields, all of them proven in collaboration with various partners.
In developed countries, potable water is the one foodstuff with the strictest standards of supervision; it can therefore be consumed without hesitation. New challenges in raw water treatment result from rising nitride contents in groundwater, pesticides in surface water, and the increased risk of bacteriological contamination of distribution systems due to rising ambient temperatures in the context of climate change. On a global scale, the extensive and sustainable supply of humans and agriculture with microbiologically safe water is the most pressing issue. Since more and more fresh water resources from groundwater and surface water are at risk of overuse, re-use strategies and desalination technologies are gaining in importance. IKTS has the technological components (electrodes, AOP processes, sensors, membranes, combined systems) and application know-how to rise to these challenges.
All over the world, mining operations cause extensive and massive damage to landscapes and profoundly affect the water balance of whole regions. The consequences for water resources and water quality are felt not just during the active production phase, but in many cases for years after mining activities have stopped. Due to natural disintegration, the available water in such areas is contaminated with a number of substances of geogenic origin. One frequently encountered phenomenon – even in Germany – is high concentrations of sulphate contaminating the water supply.
IKTS has conducted many years of research in this field and developed unique electrochemical process-es (e.g. Rodosan©) for the treatment of mining water, including the pertaining technical equipment. These processes are available and highly mature. They can be combined with technologies from the agricultural and energy sectors. They even make it possible to produce fertilizers, hydrogen and other valuable products with renewable energy, for use in decentralized resource cycles. This increases the added value of companies and economic regions as a whole.