The world’s leading exhibition for environmental technologies IFAT opens its doors in Munich from 14th to 18th May, 2018 and for the first time the project Wasser 3.0 (www.wasserdreinull.de) by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Katrin Schuhen presents their technology as an exhibitor.
Launched in 2012 as an innovative university research project, Wasser 3.0 has made a name for itself over the past few years with the approach of using inorganic-organic hybrid silica gels against undesirable trace substances.
Within a few years, the young scientists, together with their key partners, abcr GmbH, the specialty chemicals manufacturer from Karlsruhe, Germany, and the plant and process engineers from Zahnen Technik GmbH in Arzfeld, Germany, developed an efficient and innovative sustainable technology that removes unwanted trace elements from the world’s water, such as drugs and drug residues as well as microplastics.
Wasser 3.0 is the first process that can simultaneously remove dissolved stressors such as pharmaceuticals and their residues as well as suspended microplastic particles in the fourth purification stage of wastewater treatment plants.
Cost-effective and efficient – is that possible?
The advantage of Wasser 3.0 is that the structural changes to existing water purification systems, which are usually associated with high investment costs and at the same time bring enormous operating and maintenance costs, are eliminated.
Instead, Wasser 3.0 relies on adaptable solutions on a container scale and the pilot trials are right for scientists, engineers and plant builders. "Even with these space-saving systems, a considerable improvement in the quality of water can be achieved," said Schuhen in an interview.
The pilot tests for the elimination of microplastics were successfully carried out in 2017 in the EW Landau sewage treatment plant. As for the removal of drugs and other organic chemical stressors, Team Wasser 3.0 uses a water-initiated chemical reaction triggered by the addition of hybrid silica gels. Within a short time the pollutants are bound, it comes to particle growth.
The highlight of Wasser 3.0 is that these table tennis ball-sized particles of reacted hybrid silica gel, bound pollutants and microplastic float on the water surface and thus can be skimmed off very easily (see video).