Thermal separation processes

Efficient usage of energy in times of climate change and decreasing fossil resources is one of the big challenges we face today, and is thus a key field of activities at the group “heat and sorption systems”. One of our basic goals is to increase energy efficiency by applying and combining energy saving or process intensifying technologies. Concerning process technology, efficient application of energy can particularly be realized by technologies such as drying with superheated steam or the application of electromagnetic fields for volumetric heating.

Besides process intensification and the energy efficient design of industrial processes, the efficient usage of renewable energies and the possibility of energy storage are fundamental parts to ensure sustainable usage of energy. Vast amounts of waste heat are produced during many common industrial processes – the utilization of the waste heat provides an enormous potential in terms of cost and energy savings and process optimization. Key topics are the development, realization and optimization of innovative concepts for the thermal treatment of water and other substances, sorptive heat storage, solar desalination of seawater, concentration of industrial waste water and water harvesting from air humidity by a sorption process. For research, development and process applications on behalf of industrial clients, we operate with both stationary and mobile equipment. In addition, equipment for analytics and powerful software tools for simulation and design of prototypes are also available.

Fields of research


Thermal water treatment

For the treatment of industrial process water as well as applications as seawater desalination, our multistage vacuum evaporation process ensures savings by the efficient use of heat at low temperatures. In our approach neither vacuum- nor vacuum jet pumps are required for generating the vacuum.


Drying with superheated steam

Drying is an essential process step in various branches of industry. Using superheated steam as drying medium can provide significant advantages in terms of retention time, energy consumption and further aspects such as product quality. A further advantage is that valuable volatile compounds can be recovered selectively from the condensate to be recycled or further processed.


Torrefaction of lignocellulosic biomass

For the improved energetic and material use of lignocellulose-containing biomass, we have successfully demonstrated torrefaction up to pilot scale. The torrefied biomass is water-repellent and can be transported as open bulk material. The volatile substances produced during torrefaction can also be used to produce chemicals that serve as starting materials for many other industrial products.


Sorptive dehumidification

Sorptive dehumidification consists of two stages: first, the air humidity is absorbed by a highly concentrated hygroscopic saline solution and thus bound; then second, this diluted saline solution is distilled and the water separated is condensed. Water harvesting from air humidity is one exemplary application of sorptive dehumidification.

Range of services

  • Market and technology analyses
  • Feasibility studies and preliminary investigations in laboratory and pilot-plant scale
  • Process development carried out by an interdisciplinary team drawn from the fields of process engineering, mechanical and chemical engineering, microbiology and electrical engineering
  • Optimization and modification of thermal and sorptive processes to increase efficiency
  • Customized developments in the field of thermal materials treatment, absorption and adsorption
  • Engineering specification including characterization of automation algorithms, up to industrial prototypes
  • Extensive laboratory and technical equipment as key component for a successful project realization

Infrastructure and technical equipment

  • Laboratory systems for characterization and investigation of adsorbents and electrolytes/absorption agents
  • Extensive analysis methods for water analytics
  • Design and simulation software: SolidWorks, CST Microwave Studio, COMSOL MultiPhysics®, Design-Expert Workstation
  • Laboratory components for investigation of thermal separation processes
  • Pilot plant for concentration of (industry-)wastewater
  • Pilot plant for investigation of solid matter heat exchanger for adsorbents and for investigation of sorptive thermal storage processes
  • Methods for measurement of the thermal conductivity from filling under vacuum
  • Analysis methods regarding consistency of adsorbents (e.g. BET theory)

Heat and sorption systems

Information materials


Brochure “Superheated steam drying at atmospheric pressure”

Scientific publications

Publication Type
2022 Superheated Steam Torrefaction of Biomass Residues with Valorisation of Platform Chemicals Part-2: Economic Assessment and Commercialisation Opportunities
Roy, Baharam; Kleine-Möllhoff, Peter; Dalibard, Antoine
Journal Article
2022 Superheated Steam Torrefaction of Biomass Residues with Valorisation of Platform Chemicals-Part 1: Ecological Assessment
Roy, Baharam; Kleine-Moellhoff, Peter; Dalibard, Antoine
Journal Article
2021 Characteristics of Hydrochar and Liquid Products Obtained by Hydrothermal Carbonization and Wet Torrefaction of Poultry Litter in Mixture with Wood Sawdust
Isemin, R.; Muratova, N.; Kuzmin, S.; Klimov, D.; Kokh-Tatarenko, V.; Mikhalev, A.; Milovanov, O.; Dalibard, A.; Ibitowa, O.A.; Nowotny, M.; Brulé, M.; Tabet, F.; Rogge, B.
Journal Article
2020 Einsatz von überhitztem Wasserdampf als Trocknungsmittel zur Optimierung der Energieeffizienz von Trocknungsprozessen
Scherer, Bruno; Dalibard, Antoine; Takacs, Ronny; Geier, Dominik; Becker, Thomas
Journal Article
2012 Transfer of laboratory results on closed sorption thermo-chemical energy storage to a large-scale technical system
Lass-Seyoum, A.; Blicker, M.; Borozdenko, D.; Friedrich, T.; Langhof, Timo
Journal Article
2011 Experimental characterization and technical evaluation on zeolites in different sized sorption thermal energy storage systems
Lass-Seyoum, Asnakech; Blicker, Mike; Borozdenko, Dimitry; Langhof, Timo; Friedrich, Thomas
Conference Paper
2010 Niederdruckverdampfung von Industrieabwässern
Linke, B.; Blicker, M.
Journal Article
2008 Verfahren und Vorrichtung zur Wassergewinnung aus feuchter Umgebungsluft
Egner, Siegfried; Karos, Alexander; Blicker, M.
Diese Liste ist ein Auszug aus der Publikationsplattform Fraunhofer-Publica

This list has been generated from the publication platform Fraunhofer-Publica