Reaction Engineering Water


Cavitation bubbles are being researched in the field of wastewater treatment. The forces generated by their implosion can disintegrate micropollutants.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
By using innovative Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP) like cold plasma micropollutants in wastewater can be degraded.

Fraunhofer IKTS uses innovative cavitation-assisted processes, reactors and sensors for applications in water management. The focus is on the removal of micropollutants (e.g. residues of pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals) as well as the continuous recording of cumulative parameters for determining water quality, which is not currently possible with existing technologies. The aim is to develop significantly more effective and energy-efficient approaches to wastewater treatment compared with the state of the art. In this way, it should be possible to remove as many organic micropollutants as possible while using only half the energy that is currently required.

Fraunhofer IKTS couples various hydrodynamic, acoustic and sub/stable cavitation processes and combines them with AOP processes (Advanced Oxidation Process), such as ozonation, and suitable sensor technology. This results in completely new processes and reactors for wastewater treatment, which release synergy effects via specific interactions and can be modulated, i.e. adapted to different pollutant levels and volume flows in the process. In addition to the development and optimization of corresponding reactor designs, aspects such as scale-up and process control are dealt with and corresponding technical-economic analyses are carried out. Furthermore, predictive models are tested using machine learning approaches. This allows the speed and completeness of removal to be predicted even for unknown, unstudied micropollutants, as well as corresponding design criteria for reactors to be determined.

Cavitation-assisted processes also have advantages for the treatment of process waters in other industries such as chemicals, paper, food and cosmetics. In addition, the newly developed reactor principles can be transferred to other sensor applications and the excellent analytical methods can be used in medicine, for example.

Fraunhofer IKTS is also involved in the detection and quantification of transformation products that are formed during oxidative and reductive treatment processes via various paths and several intermediate steps. The composition and temporal evolution of the concentrations of these compounds is important for both ecotoxicity and design of corresponding processes.

Services offered

  • Cavitation-assisted AOP processes, reactors and sensors for efficient wastewater treatment, e.g. of municipal wastewater or process waters from the chemical, paper, food and cosmetics industries
  • Analytical methods for the continuous measurement of sum parameters for the determination of water quality
  • Models for predicting the rate and completeness of removal of micropollutants
  • Detection and quantification of transformation products

Current research

Water purification processes with sound and pressure – Attract Group KAV-AQUA


Cavitation processes and cavitation reactors


Predictive modeling for rate and degree of degradation of micropollutants