AVT-Chemical Process Engineering
Since 2010 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Wessling is the head of the Chair of Chemical Process Engineering (AVT.CVT). The core research field of the chair focuses on the development and application of membrane technology for current global challenges.
Projects within the AVT.CVT can be separated into four research groups: Sustainable Processes (SusPro), Electrons to Chemicals (e2chem), Physics of Fouling (PoF) and Adaptive, interactive Membranes (Adact). Fundamental research and applied sciences are part of each research group.
The projects in the SusPro research group include the development of a new enthalpy exchanger for the air conditioning in buildings, upgrading of biogas, environmentally friendly methods for water treatment and processing of renewable resources using electrodialysis and other membrane processes.
The “Electrons to Chemicals” (e2chem) research group aims at synthesizing both new membranes and membrane electrode assemblies, transforming electrons and regenerable feedstock into chemicals. Specifically, electricity (from wind or solar), water and carbon dioxide are used to produce new aliphatic chemicals like methane, ethane etc.
The Adact research group aims at the production of new “adaptive, interactive membranes” and membrane based systems that are inspired by nature. This will significantly broaden membrane functionality in use today. One goal is to mimic the functionality of the glomerular barrier membrane in kidneys, and the protein rejection and salt passage by building layered architectures comprising of functional polymers and cells. Such membranes will then be incorporated into miniaturized capsules in order to perform fluid contacting and molecular separations.
The “Physics of Fouling” (PoF) research group tackles the fundamental physico-chemical questions: how does membrane fouling during filtration occur, and how to prevent it? Three physical properties need to be considered: hydrodynamic conditions, particle properties and membrane characteristics. Through precise experimentation in the microfluidic domain, jamming phenomena and dejamming during controlled flow instabilities will be elucidated.