Raw water treatment is now confronted with new challenges. The pollution of the past has a direct impact today on the natural sources of water, surface waters and groundwater. Insufficiently treated process wastewater that is discharged into bodies of water results in long-term damage that then has to be tackled later on at great expense. The pollution of rivers, lakes and groundwater with pesticides, mineral oil residues or pharmaceuticals are examples of this.
In many cases the currently established processes and systems cannot do the job without adaptation and support from new, selective systems. Fraunhofer IGB has recognized this necessity and is working on the improvement of existing processes such as adsorption, filtration, flocculation/precipitation, homogenization and disinfection as well as on new approaches in process and unit operations. The use of oxidative and electrolytic processes for water treatment is one of our main fields of research. 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.