Department Process Engineering


We deal with the development, design and optimisation of novel and existing processes in centralised and decentralised wastewater treatment, as well as in water reuse and nutrient recycling. Our goal is to use our engineering knowledge to provide holistic and sustainable solutions for dealing with sewage. Models help us to better understand relationships and to make statements about the effect of actions on a system. In order to reduce water pollution by micro-pollutants, we examine methods by which these substances can be eliminated by municipal wastewater treatment plants.


Dr. Adriano JossTel. +41 58 765 5408Send Mail

Selected 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.

New data mining algorithms shall be developed and existing methods shall be adapted in order to assist WWTP plant operators with information.

Completed Projects

  • NEPTUNE - New Sustainable Concepts and Processes for Optimization and Upgrading Municipal Wastewater and Sludge Treatment. EU Project.
  • N2O - Dynamic of greenhouse gas emissions in nutrient removing wastewater treatment plants.
  • Nitrations-/Anammox process - Sludge liquid treatment with Nitritation/Anammox process.
  • Sludge inertisation - Sludge inertisation by ultrahigh temperature pyrolysis.
  • Reaktive Tracer - Use of reactive tracers for the calibration and validation of 2D and 3D flow models in water and wastewater treatment plants.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nitrite - Dynamics of nitrite in wastewater treatment plants.
  • Membranes - Use of membranes for municipal wastewater treatment.
  • POSEIDON: Fate of pharmaceuticals and personal day care products in urban water treatment.
  • Measurment campaigns - A method for analyzing and designing measurment campaigns on municipal wastewater treatment plants.
  • Sludge digestion - Biological treatment of high strength ammonia wastewater.
  • Membrane separation - Comparison of population dynamic and kinetics of nitrifiers in activated sludge treatment with secondary clarifier and membrane separation.
  • Innovative sensor technology - Implementation of innovative sensor technology and control concepts in nutrient removal plants.
  • Foaming - Cause and control of activated sludge foaming.
  • 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.

Selected Publications

Wagner, J.; Weissbrodt, D. G.; Manguin, V.; Ribeiro da Costa, R. H.; Morgenroth, E.; Derlon, N. (2015) Effect of particulate organic substrate on aerobic granulation and operating conditions of sequencing batch reactors, Water Research, 85, 158-166, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2015.08.030, Institutional Repository
Vannecke, T. P. W.; Wells, G.; Hubaux, N.; Morgenroth, E.; Volcke, E. I. P. (2015) Considering microbial and aggregate heterogeneity in biofilm reactor models: how far do we need to go?, Water Science and Technology, 72(10), 1692-1699, doi:10.2166/wst.2015.389, Institutional Repository
Thalmann, B.; Voegelin, A.; von Gunten, U.; Behra, R.; Morgenroth, E.; Kaegi, R. (2015) Effect of ozone treatment on nano-sized silver sulfide in wastewater effluent, Environmental Science and Technology, 49(18), 10911-10919, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b02194, Institutional Repository
Schielke-Jenni, S.; Villez, K.; Morgenroth, E.; Udert, K. M. (2015) Observability of anammox activity in single-stage nitritation/anammox reactors using mass balances, Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 1(4), 523-534, doi:10.1039/c5ew00045a, Institutional Repository
Ravndal, K. T.; Künzle, R.; Derlon, N.; Morgenroth, E. (2015) On-site treatment of used wash-water using biologically activated membrane bioreactors operated at different solids retention times, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(4), 544-552, doi:10.2166/washdev.2015.174, Institutional Repository
Laureni, M.; Weissbrodt, D. G.; Szivák, I.; Robin, O.; Nielsen, J. L.; Morgenroth, E.; Joss, A. (2015) Activity and growth of anammox biomass on aerobically pre-treated municipal wastewater, Water Research, 80, 325-336, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2015.04.026, Institutional Repository
Larsen, T. A.; Gebauer, H.; Gründl, H.; Künzle, R.; Lüthi, C.; Messmer, U.; Morgenroth, E.; Niwagaba, C. B.; Ranner, B. (2015) Blue Diversion: a new approach to sanitation in informal settlements, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(1), 64-71, doi:10.2166/washdev.2014.115, Institutional Repository
Künzle, R.; Pronk, W.; Morgenroth, E.; Larsen, T. A. (2015) An energy-efficient membrane bioreactor for on-site treatment and recovery of wastewater, Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 5(3), 448-455, doi:10.2166/washdev.2015.116, Institutional Repository
Hubaux, N.; Wells, G.; Morgenroth, E. (2015) Impact of coexistence of flocs and biofilm on performance of combined nitritation-anammox granular sludge reactors, Water Research, 68, 127-139, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2014.09.036, Institutional Repository
Habermacher, J.; Benetti, A. D.; Derlon, N.; Morgenroth, E. (2015) The effect of different aeration conditions in activated sludge – side-stream system on sludge production, sludge degradation rates, active biomass and extracellular polymeric substances, Water Research, 85, 46-56, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2015.08.002, Institutional Repository
Eggen, R. I. L.; Hollender, J.; Joss, A.; Schärer, M.; Stamm, C. (2014) Reducing the discharge of micropollutants in the aquatic environment: the benefits of upgrading wastewater treatment plants, Environmental Science and Technology, 48(14), 7683-7689, doi:10.1021/es500907n, Institutional Repository
Dürrenmatt, D. J.; Wanner, O. (2014) A mathematical model to predict the effect of heat recovery on the wastewater temperature in sewers, Water Research, 48(1), 548-558, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2013.10.017, Institutional Repository
Jenni, S.; Vlaeminck, S. E.; Morgenroth, E.; Udert, K. M. (2014) Successful application of nitritation/anammox towastewater with elevated organic carbon to ammonia ratios, Water Research, 49, 316-326, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2013.10.073, Institutional Repository
Lackner, S.; Gilbert, E. M.; Vlaeminck, S. E.; Joss, A.; Horn, H.; van Loosdrecht, M. C. M. (2014) Full-scale partial nitritation/anammox experiences – an application survey, Water Research, 55, 292-303, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2014.02.032, Institutional Repository
Thalmann, B.; Voegelin, A.; Sinnet, B.; Morgenroth, E.; Kaegi, R. (2014) Sulfidation kinetics of silver nanoparticles reacted with metal sulfides, Environmental Science and Technology, 48(9), 4885-4892, doi:10.1021/es5003378, Institutional Repository
Derlon, N.; Koch, N.; Eugster, B.; Posch, T.; Pernthaler, J.; Pronk, W.; Morgenroth, E. (2013) Activity of metazoa governs biofilm structure formation and enhances permeate flux during Gravity-Driven Membrane (GDM) filtration, Water Research, 47(6), 2085-2095, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2013.01.033, Institutional Repository
Larsen, T. A.; Udert, K. M.; Lienert, J. (2013) Source separation and decentralization for wastewater management, 491 p, doi:10.2166/9781780401072, Institutional Repository


ASIM - (Activated Sludge SIMulation Program) ist eine Software, is a simulation program, which allows for the simulation of a variety of different biological wastewater treatment systems: Activated sludge systems with up to 10 different reactors in series (aerobic, anoxic, anaerobic), including sludge return and internal recirculation streams, batch reactors, chemostat reactors, etc.

TEMPEST - is a simulation program, which allows for the simulation of dynamics of the wastewater temperature in sewers in connection to heating with wastewater