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With energy supply as a key contributor to our climate future, FiW works on innovative, sustainable concepts concerning energy supply, optimization, and sector coupling in water and waste management. Here FiW accompanies projects from basic process development at technological readiness level 2 to the industrial integration of energy, process and system concepts at readiness level 9. FiW frequently assumes the role of project coordinator with different partners as well as operator of laboratory and pilot plants hands-on in the field. We make further contributions through mathematical modeling, simulation and optimization of different processes and systems.

At present, the subject of energy is characterized in particular by the following topics:

  • Process development in the field of heterogeneous catalysis of climate-neutral chemicals and fuels
  • System integration of renewable energy sources
  • Processes for energetic biomass utilization
  • Energy efficiency of wastewater treatment plants

The transition to renewable energy sources often requires the dynamization of the energy supply of an entire energy system. Whether it is a household, a business, a waste or waste water treatment plant, a power plant complex or an entire municipality, the challenges can seldomly be solved heuristically.

Also, the control of chemical processes often shows a level of complexity, which requires models and simulations to provide information on the optimal operation of plants.  FiW therefore utilizes different modeling environments and optimization methods in order to develop valid forecasts and optimized operating strategies for regenerative energy sources and process plants.

The use of biomass for energy purposes offers significant benefits, that are in line with climate protection and energy transition. For example, the development of previously unused biowaste and green waste materials in wood chip heating or biogas plants offers the potential of sustainable regional energy concepts. The same applies to the development of new biological biogas purification processes, which reduce the use of fossil consumables.

The water sector offers a wide range of synergy potential for the use and integration of water electrolysis at different locations. High oxygen demand in denitrification or possible ozone plants and the independent green power production available in many places make the use of electrolysis in water management an interesting option for the efficient use of both products of electrolysis and for positioning the water sector as an actor in sector coupling.

In order to ensure the optimal integration of electrolysis in water sector applications and to guarantee the economic feasibility of corresponding concepts, FiW works at the interface between theory and practice. Thus, concepts for the use of water electrolysis are first tested theoretically in feasibility studies in modeling environments such as SIMBA or Matlab/Simulink before the real implementation of the projects takes place. FiW accompanies both stages of project development as a partner.

Comprehensive models of wastewater treatment plants are used to test the integration of renewable energy sources into the infrastructure of wastewater treatment plants.

In addition to wastewater treatment plants, heat networks are complex municipal energy systems. Heat supply in particular faces many significant issues against the backdrop of the energy transition: the elimination of thermal power plants poses many complicated hurdles for the sustainable, secure supply of sufficient heat to large networks.

Through the interfaces of the water and energy industries, FiW has been able to look at multi-layered municipal supply issues over the past years and build expertise in the area of energy supply to companies and households via heating networks. At FiW, the simulation tool STANET is used to investigate complex issues in the field of heat supply, which enables detailed state-of-the-art modeling of heat networks. We support municipal utilities and companies in the modeling, simulation and optimization of their heat networks. Furthermore, we support municipalities and companies in the conceptualization of sustainable energy supply problems.

In addition to energy and material flow optimizations of energy systems, which are often economically driven, the assessment and optimization of energy systems with regard to their ecological impact is an important part of sustainable planning. FiW therefore also offers corresponding modeling in the GaBi software during project development, which represents the industry standard for life-cycle models. Through this, processes, energy supply systems, products and processes can be modeled relating to their ecological and climate impact.

The production and use of chemicals and fuels of biogenic origin can be considered regenerative or climate-neutral, since the sequestered and used carbon from biomass has mostly been removed from the atmosphere. In addition, captured CO2 from biomethane plants or waste or sewage sludge cogeneration plants can be considered and used as a resource for chemical and energetic processes.

In recent years, FiW has played a leading role in the development and testing of a process for the synthesis of methanol from biogas and processes for the synthesis and use of fuels based on captured CO2 and hydrogen. The processes were supervised from design through plant conception, testing at the pilot plant and evaluation. Synergistic sites arise in both water and waste management. In addition to the work on the pilot plant, which allows a holistic view of the concept and real operating conditions, we are involved in the development and testing of new catalysts for this process. For this purpose, experimental plants are operated on a laboratory scale.



NitroSX – Microbiological Biogas Desulphurisation

Development of a process for the use of nitrate from wastewater as an oxygen donor for a biological oxidative biogas desulphurisation



New processes for the production of climate-neutral energy sources based on biogas and renewable surplus electricity

render | Urban Region Aachen

render – More renewable energies

Regional dialogue on energy change - together on the way to an energy region



Solar heat generation, storage and distribution in the low-temperature network

Heat networks

Modelling and optimisation of heat networks

Efficient and demand-oriented heat supply