Electrochemical Separations

  Electrochemical cell © AVT.FVT  

The pivot to renewable raw materials and energy sources raise the need to develop value chains for the chemical industry which are in line with sustainability and economic goals. In the past, mainly fossil raw materials were used and energy was mostly employed in the form of heat in the production processes. Today, progress in industrial biotechnology makes it possible to produce important platform chemicals from renewable feedstock. So far, classic thermal separation processes struggle with the technological challenges such as high water content in product streams, pH-dependent material properties and thermal instability of the products encountered in the new processes.

In the "Electrochemical separations" team of AVT.FVT, we are working on new electrochemical separation processes with the aim of using renewable electricity instead of fossil based heat to generate the driving force required for separation tasks. Two focus fields of our work are electrochemical pH-swing extraction and electrochemical pH-shift crystallization concepts which enable zero-waste process layouts with closed recycle loops for minimal carbon-, waste- and water footprints.

Current research topics are:

  • Electrochemical acid-base recycling for zero-waste processes in carboxylic acid production (succinic acid, lactic acid, itaconic acid)
  • Dynamic modeling of biotechnological pH-swing processes and electrolyte equilibria
  • Establishment of spectroscopy methods for in-situ process monitoring
  • CFD based analysis and development of electrochemical reactor concepts
  • Cost engineering for application-oriented technology development

Experimental and simulative student research projects as well as bachelor and master theses are available on a regular basis. Please contact the corresponding person or have a look at the advertised theses at the AVT.FVT.