Department Process Engineering

Process Engineering

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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September 9, 2021

An Eawag study has shown that it makes good sense to recover domestic energy, for example from warm shower water. The study refutes concerns that this form of heat utilisation could have a negative impact on waste water treatment plants. In fact, utilising the energy closer to its source reduces energy losses in the waste-water system.

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July 15, 2021

Open Science is an important development in science - open access to the results of research. Eawag supports these and makes a growing part of its research data, including descriptions, images and even software, available publicly and free of charge on the Eawag platform ERIC or, in special cases, on discipline-specific, international databases. ERIC complements the long-standing platform DORA for scientific publications.

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Success for the practice-oriented PEAK course «Activated carbon»

Geschäftsführer Klaus Alt, Hydro-Ingenieure GmbH, Düsseldorf: «Die GAK-Filtration in Kesselbausweise ist eine kostengünstige und vor allem sehr flexible Lösung zur Umsetzung der Spurenstoffelimination auf ARAn.» Foto: Marc Böhler

On June 22 and 23, the Eawag PEAK course « Activated carbon for the elimination of trace substances – Processes variants with PAC and GAC », in collaboration with the VSA, took place successfully.

The course received a great feedback from the practice, as shown by the high number of 92 participants from engineering offices, plant construction, administration and operators of wastewater treatment plants, who came to the Eawag/Empa Academy for two days to take part in the event.

Successful exchange of experiences and enriching discussions

In addition to the latest knowledge and developments in the field of the elimination of trace substances by adsorption on activated carbon, a larger scope was given to the exchange of experiences on these new treatment steps between operators of WWTPs. A panel discussion showed that there are still questions concerning the representativeness and the informative value of these measurements, especially when it comes to the sampling or monitoring of the treatment performance during rainwater inflow to wastewater treatment plants.

Another exciting subject of discussion was the high CO2 footprint of the use of powdered activated carbon, especially. There was unanimous agreement on the fact that biogenic products should be given priority over fossil activated carbon, when possible. It was also acknowledged that more efforts must be put into producing ideally “SWISS made” coal, both for the use as powdered carbon than granulated carbon.

Author: Marc Böhler

Water Hub: new movie!


González-Pleiter, M.; Edo, C.; Aguilera, Á.; Viúdez-Moreiras, D.; Pulido-Reyes, G.; González-Toril, E.; Osuna, S.; de Diego-Castilla, G.; Leganés, F.; Fernández-Piñas, F.; Rosal, R. (2021) Occurrence and transport of microplastics sampled within and above the planetary boundary layer, Science of the Total Environment, 761, 143213 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143213, Institutional Repository
Kaegi, R.; Gogos, A.; Voegelin, A.; Hug, S. J.; Winkel, L. H. E.; Buser, A. M.; Berg, M. (2021) Quantification of individual Rare Earth Elements from industrial sources in sewage sludge, Water Research X, 11, 100092 (11 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.wroa.2021.100092, Institutional Repository
Kuehr, S.; Kaegi, R.; Maletzki, D.; Schlechtriem, C. (2021) Testing the bioaccumulation potential of manufactured nanomaterials in the freshwater amphipod Hyalella azteca, Chemosphere, 263, 127961 (15 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127961, Institutional Repository
Niederdorfer, R.; Hausherr, D.; Palomo, A.; Wei, J.; Magyar, P.; Smets, B. F.; Joss, A.; Bürgmann, H. (2021) Temperature modulates stress response in mainstream anammox reactors, Communications Biology, 4(1), 23 (12 pp.), doi:10.1038/s42003-020-01534-8, Institutional Repository
To the library

Research Projects

By recovering nutrients from urine, we develop a sanitation system, which produces a valuable fertiliser
We develop reactors for the separate treatment of urine, feces and water directly in the toilet.
Inadequate access to microbiologically safe drinking water continuously threatens the health and well-being of more than a billion people, primarily in developing countries
Modelling of aerobic granular sludge (AGS) reactors