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Current Research Projects

Studies on the elimination of micropollutants from water and wastewater using biomembrane processes as well as their comparison with other biologically supported processes

The aim of this project is to investigate the elimination and mineralization of so-called micro-contamination in industrial / municipal wastewater by biodegradation processes in innovative process concepts. Phase I of the project focuses on the production of bacterial isolates / biocenoses that are suitable for the degradation of defined microcontaminants. After the sucsessful execution of Phase I, Phase II will emphasise on the research work of biomembrane processes with purposefully immobilisation of specialized biocenoses cultivated in Phase I on the membrane carriers and their utilization for treatment of the named wastewater. In this stage, alternative biological processes on laboratory and semi-technical scalewill be operated and used for comparison and purpose of valuation.

The output of the project will be a developed concept, which leads to a large-scale technical implementation of processes concerning the treatment of municipal/ industrial wastewater. The aim of the project is to compare different biological processes in terms of their efficiency in the elimination of trace contaminants. The key compounds which will be used are Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Triclosan and Fluoxetine. Unlike similar projects, the focus is on the biological degradation of these contaminants and not its pure adsorption, as the latter situation does not lead to permanent elimination of the use of sludge in agriculture. In the first stage, the biological basis for biodegradation is understood and the isolates obtained are used in the second phase on a pilot scale as inoculum.

Project duration: 07/2013- 12/2016

Project duration at the University of Kaiserslautern: 01/2016-12/2016

Person in charge: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heidrun Steinmetz

Funding: Willy-Hager-Foundation, Stuttgart