Department Process Engineering

Project Overview

The research focus of the Process Engineering Department (ENG) ranges from current and future wastewater and drinking water treatment problems, as well as water pollution control and resource reuse. Our long-term goal is to develop sustainable concepts of the water and nutrient cycle in residential areas.

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Projects

By recovering nutrients from urine, we develop a sanitation system, which produces a valuable fertiliser
Inadequate access to microbiologically safe drinking water continuously threatens the health and well-being of more than a billion people, primarily in developing countries
We develop reactors for the separate treatment of urine, feces and water directly in the toilet.
Sustainable urban water and wastewater management applied and implemented in the modular NEST building.
As part of the “VUNA” research project, researchers have developed the new VUNA recycling technique by which valuable nutrients can be extracted from urine and used as fertilisers. The liquid fertiliser “Aurin” is the result of the project.

Projects organised per research groups:

Drinking Water

Current projects

  • Nanosorp - Nanosorp is a bilateral collaborative projects between several Polish partners (AGH, WUT) and Swiss partners (Eawag, EMPA), on the development and application of innovative filter- and membrane materials for water treatment.
  • Regional Water Supply Baselland 21 - In this project, the qualitative and quantitative challenges of the water supply in the region Baselland are investigated. Activities in the group focus on the evaluation of existing and new technologies for water treatment. [...]
  • Gravity driven membrane (GDM) - GDM is a simple, maintenance free technology which provides safe drinking water without the use of electricity and chemicals.  GDM is also the core technology for Eawag’s concept of water treatment in the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. [...]
  • NEST - Sustainable urban water and wastewater management applied and implemented in the modular NEST building.

Completed projects

  • Membrane fouling - Membrane fouling mechanisms by organic and inorganic water compounds
  • In-line flocculation -In-line flocculation for the optimization of Ultrafiltration
  • POU - Point-of-use treatment of drinking water by ultrafiltration and sand filtration

Wastewater

Current projects

  • ATHENE - Basics of biological removal of micropollutants. Designing new technical wastewater treatment solutions targeted for organic micropollutant biodegradation by understanding enzymatic pathways and assessing detoxification. An EU ERC Advanced Grant.
  • Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC) - The new toilet model will provide a sanitary solution that ensures human dignity and hygiene, while also being environmentally-friendly and economically feasible. A project in cooperation with EOOS and Makerere University in Uganda, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Data mining and visualisation of online data on wastewater treatment plantsNew data mining algorithms shall be developed and existing methods shall be adapted in order to assist WWTP plant operators with information extracted from the large data set available. The systematic data exploitation will have positive impact on the environment and on treatment costs as well as on process understanding.
  • N2O - Dynamic of greenhouse gas emissions in nutrient removing wastewater treatment plants.
  • Nitrations-/Anammox process - Sludge liquid treatment with Nitritation/Anammox process.
  • Ozonation at the WWTP Neugut, Dübendorf – Monitoring and Control of Ozonation for Micropollutant Elimination by UV Absorbance Measurement.
  • Production of fertilizer out of digester supernatant and urine - Recycle of nitrogen and phosphorus at the WWTP Kloten/Opfikon via combined air stripping (full scale experiments) and urine Treatment.
  • ComFORMD (Combining Forward Osmosis with RO or Membrane Distillation for concentrating fouling feed streams): We are developing an integrated Forward Osmosis system coupled with Membrane Distillation or Reverse Osmosis for draw solution recovery to concentrate municipal wastewater. The project is a collaboration of Blue-tec Bv (NL), Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (NL), Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg (NL), Attero (NL), Solarspring (D), and Eawag. Eawag is focused on the treatment of the concentrate to recover nutrients and energy. The project is funded by Eurostars.

Completed projects

  • NEPTUNE - New Sustainable Concepts and Processes for Optimization and Upgrading Municipal Wastewater and Sludge Treatment. EU Project.
  • Strategie Micropoll - Mass-flux-study, Ozonation Regensdorf, powdered activated carbon.
  • Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) - PAC dosage to flocculation filtration of WWTP Kloten/Opfikon to improve micropollutant removal.
  • HydroNET - Flotation instead of sedimentation - modular approach for small and medium WWTP.
  • Heat recovery from wastewater - The higher-than-ambient temperature of wastewater makes it a valuable source of energy.
  • Nitrite - Dynamics of nitrite in wastewater treatment plants.
  • POSEIDON: Fate of pharmaceuticals and personal day care products in urban water treatment.
  • Press technology - Innovative press technology for sewage sludge dewatering.
  • EUROMBRA - Membrane bioreactor technology with an EU perspective for advanced municipal wastewater treatment strategies for the 21st century. EU project.
  • RECLAIM WATER - Water reclamation technologies for safe artificial groundwater recharge. EU project.

Source Separation & Decentralisation

Current projects

  • VUNA - Valorisation of urine nutrients in Africa. By recovering nutrients from urine in small decentralised reactors, we want to develop a dry sanitation system, that is affordable for the poor, produces a valuable fertiliser, promotes entrepreneurship  and reduces the pollution of water resources.
  • Reinvent the toilet challenge (RTTC) - The new toilet model will provide a sanitary solution that ensures human dignity and hygiene, while also being environmentally-friendly and economically feasible. A project in cooperation with EOOS and Makerere University in Uganda, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • NEST - Sustainable urban water and wastewater management applied and implemented in the modular NEST building.

Completed projects

Application & Development

Currents projects

  • Nutrients Recovery - Production of a fertiliser from wastewater - air stripping and membrane stripping.
  • Biological post-treatment after ozonation for the elimination of micro pollutions.
  • NEST - Sustainable urban water and wastewater management applied and implemented in the modular NEST building.
  • Sludge treatment - Optimization of the sludge treatment (WWTP Neugut, Dübendorf)
  • Ozonation - Monitoring and control of ozonation for the removal of trace elements by UV absorptiometry (WWTP Neugut, Dübendorf)
  • Activated Carbon - Procedures for the application of activated carbon to remove trace elements municipal wastewater.

Completed projects

Sensors & Automation

Current Projects

  • DyRPA - Dynamic control and process monitoring in wastewater treatment (Dynamische Regelung und Prozessüberwachung in der Abwasserreinigung)
  • SoDAN - Soft-sensing, Diagnosis and Automation for Nutrient Recovery
  • EMISSUN – Efficient Model Identification for Soft-Sensing of Urine Nitrification

Completed projects

  • KTI Project - Innovative Methods for Wastewater Treatment Plant Optimization - Development of advanced adaptive software modules for SCADA systems to reduce energy and resources consumption.
  • MAC-Nut - Model Adaptive Control for Nutrient removal and recovery processes.

Particle Laboratory

Current projects

Completed projects