Thermal water treatment

Thermal water treatment processes are widely used today in various branches of industry. Besides simple heating these processes include, for example, distillation, sterilization and rectification (thermal material separation). The advantage of these methods is that the technologies are often relatively simple and of robust design. Thermal energy supply can generally be achieved without great technical efforts by means of direct firing, process vapor, or electric heating.

On the other hand, thermal treatment methods are mostly energy-intensive. New technical solutions are necessary to ensure a responsible use of energy resources and to offset the increasing cost pressure.

Solutions viable for the future are required

Thermal methods offer many possibilities for use in the context of the secondary utilization of energy by means of waste heat and the application of thermal solar technology.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB has set itself the objective – by developing innovative concepts as well as optimizing and combining various methods – to realize efficient and inexpensive thermal treatment methods in order to be able to use these sources of energy. Solar seawater desalination, the concentration of industrial wastewater and the recovery of resolvents are examples of applications that are being worked on at Fraunhofer IGB.

Thermal treatment methods are especially well suited for decentralized solutions and those independent of the infrastructure, as they can have a simple set-up and locally accruing thermal solar energy and/or waste heat become available.

The solution of customer-specific problems demands flexible and optimized, adaptable concepts. As a result of the interdisciplinary composition of our expertise and the independence from specific technology solutions, we can carry out these tasks objectively and in a customer-oriented way.

Reference projects

DeSol – Solar seawater desalination by gravity-supported vacuum distillation


Energy efficient and cost-effective technology for sea water desalination.

Vacuum distillation for the concentration of aqueous solutions and wastewater


dustrial production companies such as in the metal or printing industry, and also in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, frequently produce highly polluted wastewater, which may not be discharged into the communal sewage system. Some of the contaminations (heavy metals, cyanide salts, solvents, complex chemical compounds, etc.) are very complex and difficult to break down.


Project duration: January 2009 – June 2009