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Within the scope of our research, we develop solutions for sustainable and future-oriented urban water management. The following focal points are worth mentioning:

Adapted Technologies

Further development of adapted technologies for sustainable, climate- and resource-friendly wastewater treatment

Urban Mining

Conversion to closed-loop wastewater management with the aim of recovering recyclable materials

Simulation-based learning

Process clarification and gain in understanding through simulation-based description of relevant cleaning processes

Current projects

The KA4H2 project has an ambitious goal: to create optimal conditions for the production of hydrogen from treated wastewater in wastewater treatment plants. This initiative aims to simplify approval procedures and install hydrogen electrolysers at wastewater treatment plants.

Wastewater treatment plants offer ideal conditions for hydrogen production. Not only is the (waste) water available for electrolysis, but the by-products such as oxygen and waste heat can also be used on site. These plants could also play a key role in the load management of electricity grids by converting surplus electricity into green hydrogen. This can be stored, used directly on site or converted back into electricity.

The Urban Water Management department is taking on the following tasks as part of the KA4H2 project:

  • Evaluating the technical possibilities for hydrogen production, storage and use directly at wastewater treatment plants.
  • Determination of the potential of hydrogen electrolysis based on the DWA performance record for municipal wastewater treatment plants in Baden-Württemberg.
  • Development of framework conditions for the safe production of green hydrogen from wastewater treatment plant effluents to minimize the environmental impact on water bodies.
  • Exemplary scaling of hydrogen technologies at a wastewater treatment plant and development of key figures for transferability to other sites.

The KA4H2 project focuses on the formulation of these framework conditions and the preparation of pilot projects. Wastewater treatment plants could thus make an important contribution to decentralized energy supply and hydrogen infrastructures in the future, which would represent a significant step towards climate protection in Germany.

Project partners:     DVGW - Research Center at the Engler-Bunte Institute (EBI) of the KIT, Karlsruhe

                               Umwelttechnik BW GmbH, Stuttgart

Duration:                             01.12.2023 - 30.11.2025

Funding:                     Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector

Project management:       Dr.-Ing. Philipp Otter / Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Morck

Image source: KIT-EBI (2023)

Even in the cold winter months, municipal wastewater has a relatively high temperature compared to the outside air and is therefore a valuable source of heat, especially during the heating period. Because sewage treatment plants can be found in almost all larger municipalities, it makes sense to make use of this heat source. As part of municipal heat planning, which will be mandatory for larger municipalities in Hesse from 2024, wastewater heat should therefore be given special consideration.

Against this background, the KlärWP.Hessen study provides a valuable basis for local authorities. It helps to identify suitable areas for the construction of new heating networks and aims to simplify the associated planning effort.

Both the heat demand of municipalities and the heat supply potential of the wastewater produced are subject to seasonal fluctuations. A key aspect of this study is therefore the intersection of the variable annual profiles and the development of the resulting coverage rates. For this purpose, standardized annual profiles of the wastewater heat potential are being developed at the Department of Urban Water Management as part of KlärWP.Hessen and .

Project partner:     University of Kassel:

                               Department of Urban Water Management

                               Department of Solar and Systems Engineering

Duration:                             01.08.2023 - 29.02.2024

Funding:                     LEA LandesEnergieAgentur Hessen GmbH

Project management:       apl. Prof. Dr. Ulrike Jordan

The research project KIkKa is making an important contribution to the "race to zero" in wastewater treatment by helping to reduce climate-relevant emissions. The main focus is on the formation and emission of nitrous oxide (N2O) within biological wastewater treatment. Nitrous oxide is particularly relevant as it has a global warming potential 273 times higher than carbon dioxide. As part of KIkKa , a combination of innovative measurement methods and AI approaches is being used to research ways of reducing nitrous oxide emissions and simultaneously reducing the energy requirements of a wastewater treatment plant. The use of AI helps to identify patterns in the relationships between control and target variables in the biological processes of wastewater treatment. This enables the development of concrete reduction measures in real plant operation, which makes an important contribution to avoiding direct emissions from wastewater treatment.

Project partners:     University of Kassel (FG SWW)

                               Variolytics GmbH (network coordination)

                               Göppingen municipal drainage system (SEG)

                             Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB)  

Duration:                           01.01.2023 - 30.06.2025

Funding:                   Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV)

Project management:         Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Morck / Malte Thormann, M.Sc.

As part of the SDG graduate program CirCles, the potentials of innovative recycling paths for urban biowaste are being investigated in collaboration with the departments of Sustainable Marketing, Resource Management and Waste Technology as well as Grassland Science and Renewable Resources. The inter- and transdisciplinary project aims to close urban carbon cycles by providing biowaste free of foreign matter, processing it in a targeted manner and recycling it sustainably.

Currently, activated carbons based on hard coal or coconut are mainly used for the targeted removal of organic trace substances from wastewater matrices. Alternatively, bio-waste can be used for the production of bio-based activated carbons in order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful effects. At the Department of Urban Water Management, the substitution of fossil auxiliaries in advanced wastewater treatment by biobased activated carbons is being researched within CirCles and investigated for its real sustainability potentials. Special attention is paid to the influence of different process parameters during activated carbon production on the achievable adsorption performance as well as the simulation-based description of the adsorption processes on biobased activated carbons.

Project partners:                         University of Kassel:
                                         Department of Urban Water Management
                                               Department of Sustainable Marketing
                                                                      xml-ph-0036@deepl.      Resource Management and Waste Engineering

Associated partners:          Stadtreiniger Kassel Kassel district KASSELWASSER xml-ph-0037@ and Garden Department of the City of Kassel

Duration:                                              09/2022 - 02/2026

Funding:                            University of Kassel

Links:                               Project homepage CirCles

Image source: Umwelttechnik BW (2023)

Recovering raw materials from wastewater and advancing climate protection: This is the goal of the RoKKa research project.

For this purpose, we are investigating the different processes of targeted phosphorus elimination from wastewater at the FG Urban Water Management under the new objective of developing a local phosphorus source for microalgae for the production of beta-glucans as plant biostimulants and for fertilizer production. In addition, we are concerned with the climate compatibility of the bioeconomic production processes from wastewater investigated in RoKKa. A key role is played by nitrous oxide (N2O), since one gram of N2O contributes 265 times as much to the greenhouse effect in 100 years as one gram ofCO2. Direct nitrous oxide emissions occur during wastewater treatment as intermediate and by-products of biological nitrogen elimination. Accordingly, innovative separation and utilization of nitrogen from wastewater also holds great climate protection potential.


Project partners:University of Kassel (FG SWW)Umwelttechnik BW GmbH (joint coordinator) Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB University of Stuttgart (IGVP)TU Kaiserslautern (FG rewa)SolarSpring GmbHDeukum GmbHNanoscience for life GmbHCity of ErbachSpecial purpose association sewage treatment plant Steinhäule

Duration: 08.11.2021 - 31.03.2024

Funding:Ministry for Environment, Climate and Energy Baden-WürttembergEuropean Union

Project management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Morck


The DecS project pursues the vision of removing organic trace substances from wastewater streams in the most targeted way possible and relieving the necessary use of resources of the available technologies (ozone, PAH, GAK). DecS makes use of the driver of digitalization by intelligently processing continuously collected measurement data from a new online sensor system and networking it with digital model images. In doing so, DecS explores the real sustainability potentials of digitized trace substance elimination and answers general questions about simulation-supported process optimization on water management plants. The feasibility of large-scale implementation is being tested in digital real laboratories (Dülmen wastewater treatment plant, Bad Sassendorf wastewater treatment plant) in order to be able to gather concrete experience in the interaction of digital instruments in the sense of a proof of concept.


Project partners:University of Kassel (FG SWW, network coordination).UNISENSOR Sensor Systems GmbHifak e.V. MagdeburgLippe Association (EGLV)Weber Engineers GmbH

Duration: 04/2021 - 10/2023

Funding:Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Digital GreenTech - Environmental technology meets digitalization

Project Management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Morck / Janna Parniske, M.Sc.

Links: Project homepage DecS

The submerged membrane processes currently used for wastewater treatment are mainly static processes. The membrane fibers or plates are bundled in a rack, which in turn is permanently installed in the reactor. The required overflow to control the top layer is mainly achieved by the introduction of air. For this reason, submerged membrane systems require significantly more aeration energy compared to conventional systems and also have significantly greater cleaning and maintenance requirements. Within the scope of the research work, a new type of membrane development is being investigated with the aim of significantly expanding the flux and solids content of currently used systems by means of a new type of design with short membrane fibers and by rotating the fibers. This is to be achieved with lower backwash intervals and air volumes at the same time.


Project partner: University of Kassel (FG SWW)

Funding: Own funds

At the Achern wastewater treatment plant, powdered activated carbon is simultaneously dosed into the biological stage of the wastewater treatment plant for further elimination of trace substances. In addition to the demonstration for the simple implementation of the process, the project will develop operating settings that can be transferred to other wastewater treatment plants to ensure a functioning and at the same time economical operation of the process. This will be supported by a simulation-based description of the relevant processes. The project is divided into two phases. In phase 1, preliminary investigations are carried out in the laboratory as well as on a semi-technical scale in order to gain knowledge for the design of the large-scale realization of the project. By means of a semi-industrial test plant, the questions concerning the powder activated carbon requirement, the dosing strategy and the effects on the capacity reserves of the biological stage are to be investigated in particular. Phase 2 will examine the extent to which the findings can be verified on an industrial scale. In addition, the mode of operation will be optimized in this phase. The two phases are separated in time by the construction or installation of the technical plant components for the expansion of the Achern wastewater treatment plant to include the process of simultaneous dosing of powdered activated carbon.


Project partners:University of Kassel (FG SWW), City of Achern, Weber Engineers GmbH

Duration: 09/2019 - 06/2023

Funding: State of Baden-Württemberg

Project Management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Morck

Completed projects

Within the framework of PAKauf, an adsorption stage with powdered activated carbon in accumulation mode (PAK-SBR) is being tested in semi-industrial trials for further elimination of trace substances. The investigations will be supported by a simulation-based description of the process operations in order to be able to answer questions on the optimization of the cycle phases, among other things.


Project partners: University of Kassel (FG SWW), AZV Lower Sulm Valley, Weber Engineers GmbH, Competence Center Trace Substances Baden-Württemberg (KomS)

Duration: 03/2021 - 02/2022

Funding: State of Baden-Württemberg