Sustainable production technologies


The field of "Sustainable Production Technologies" focuses on procedural and instrumental aspects by considering sustainability, and the efficient use of energy and resources. Research at the ICTV aims to integrate an ecological focus in the early stages of process designs or process alterations. Therefore, the ecological effect of different procedural options of implementation (e.g. recovery of core value components, value of heat sources and heat sinks, application of innovative cleaning procedures and process alterations) have to be firstly identified and secondly evaluated under quantitative aspects.

Currently, the ICTV is working on following projects in this field of research:


Aktuelle Forschungsvorhaben

solvoPET - From PET to raw material

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Project Management: PTJ Jülich
Project ID: 033R193A bis F
Time: 01.10.2017 – 30.09.2020

Worldwide about 80 million tons of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are produced every year. One of the most important applications of this polymer is the packaging production. Due to the high production volume, a sustainable recycling of PET is of great importance: on the one hand, PET is produced from fossil resources, and on the other hand, the polymer is hardly biodegradable, so that in case of unproper utilization it accumulates in the environment among others in form of microplas-tics and endangers the nature and entire food chain up to human. So far, only mechanical recycling processes for packaging made of pure PET, such as uncolored PET bottles, are economically es-tablished. These processes are based on re-melting and demand the purity of the input materials. An economically viable technology of mechanical recycling of PET-containing packaging, especially food packaging, is currently not available due to various barrier layers made of other polymers and color pigments. This project represents a development of the solvoPET process, a technology for chemical recycling.

Using solvoPET technology the foreign substances can be isolated from multi-layered post-consumer and post-industrial PET wastes and the monomeric building blocks of the PET polymer, the terephthalic acid (TPA) and the monoethylene glycol (MEG) can be recovered selectively. These can subsequently be used to produce new PET. The process does not require high purity of the input materials. The feed stream of the process can consist, in addition to pure PET, of mixed fractions or typical multilayer packaging materials and contain other plastics, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, which are irreversibly bonded to PET and cannot be mechanically separated

Workpackage 1 “Investigation of the principles and process and apparatus design”
The first step of the research project is the development and proof of concept of a continuous depolymerization of PET-material. Lab experiments are conducted to examine the process steps such as depolymerization, separation of impurities and purification.

These lab scale experiments are used to develop the process parameters for the continuous depolymerization of PET and are used for the dimensioning of the pilot plant.

Workpackage 2“Pilot Plant”
In this work package the technological viability of the process is ensured, and a pilot plant is constructed. In the beginning, the pilot plant will process pure PET-samples to produce terephthalic acid and monoethylene glycol. Later, the plant will depolymerize mixed PET-containing composite materials continuously.

Workpackage 3“Balancing and multicriteria assessment”
In addition to the experimental development an energetic balancing of the continuous process is conducted. The process is simulated with a flow chart simulation and compared with the data from the pilot plant.

Contact: Lars Biermann, M.Sc., Esther Brepohl, M.Sc., Mandy Paschetag, M.Sc., Clemens Müller, M.Sc., Prof. Dr.-Ing Stephan Scholl

TERESA – Droplet entrainment and droplet reduction in mass transfer devices

Funded by: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Project Management: PTJ Jülich
Project ID: 03ET1395I
Time: 01.11.2016 - 31.10.2019

The BMWi-Joint-Project aims at the improvement of energy and resource efficiency of fluidic separation processes due to the reduction of droplet entrainment in vapour/liquid counter current processes.

An insufficient phase separation and droplet entrainment significantly influences the efficiency of thermal and fluidic separation processes. Within TERESA all relevant intersection points of a separation column, a) the feed pipe up to column entrance, b) entrance zone within the column, c) column head and d) the column sump or the vapour separator after a flash evaporator will be considered.

Workpackage 2.5 “Evaluation of economical and ecological aspects”
For the evaluation of the newly developed technologies, a comparison to state-of-the-art separation processes will be performed. For this purpose, a cost-benefit analysis compares different process configurations on one hand with unsatisfactory phase and droplet separation against the solutions obtained throughout the project. The results will be used to quantify the potentials for an increased resource and energy efficiency due to the implementation of the research results by means of ecological and economic assessment. Especially the influence of the employed equipment will be in the focus of the investigations.

Subtask 1 “Communication and dissemination”
The ICTV is responsible for the technical and scientific communication in the cooperative project.

Contact: Dr.-Ing. Katharina Jasch, Dipl.-Ing. André Paschetag, Mandy Paschetag, M.Sc., Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Scholl

Mi²Pro - Scalable production technology of micro-scale and milli-scale for energy-efficient, continuous production in process industries

Funded by: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Project Management: PTJ Jülich
Project ID: 03ET1471A
Time: 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019

The majority of production processes in process industry are operated batch-wise. This technique allows an increased flexibility, but, on the other hand, shows significant disadvantages, such as unsteady product quality, increased cleaning efforts, reduced options for heat integration, and therefore a poor energy footprint. The cooperative project "Scalable production technology of micro-scale and milli-scale for energy-efficient, continuous production in process industries" aims to implement a transition from batch to continuous production by using milli- and micro-scale components, and integrated measurement methods. By using modularization of whole systems or system parts, as well as methods of process simulation, analysis and control, and currently developed spectroscopic real-time measurement, a development of scalable processes in lab-scale can be achieved.

In the course of the previous cooperative project µKontE the practicability of a continuous process of specialty chemicals and biotechnology in lab-scale was proven. These investigations are used as foundation for transfer to further products, usage in industrial-scale, and integration into production.

The project Mi2Pro includes cooperation with the companies AURO Pflanzenchemie AG, Amino GmbH, Merck KGaA und Cargill Deutschland GmbH, as well as the University of Mannheim and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Workpackage 7.1: Repatriation in amino acid production
In cooperation with Amino GmbH the reconditioning of residue streams from the production process for pharmaceutical amino acids is examined. Due to the usage in pharmaceutical industry the process underlies standards by law and GMP. Furthermore, this process deals with highly corrosive media and, therefore, requires increased efforts of maintenance.

The focus for a continuous process for this procedural task lies on a modularized process, which offers an economical improvement by saving energy and resources, and protecting the environment.

Workpackage 7.2: Continuous campaign production of paints as varnishes and glazes
This subproject specifically derives from the idea to develop a continuous process for varnishes and glazes from the company AURO Pflanzenchemie AG, Braunschweig. This process alteration from batch to a modular and continuous operating just-in-time production leads to an increasing flexibility on volatile customer demands. Hence, several products can be manufactured and customized in the same lab-apparatus in a continuous campaign manner. Collected data are utilized for material and energy flow balances, product specific operation values, process evaluation, as well as to transfer these data to other process alterations in this field.

Workpackage 7.3: Concept development for an integration of multi-process plants in existing manufacturing
This work focuses on the integration of continuous production processes into existing batch-environments. This technology opens up possibilities to reduce minimum production rates, inventories, and cleaning expenditure. In cooperation with AURO Pflanzenchemie AG the boundary conditions for the planning of the integration of micro-continuous processes into batch-environments are examined, as well as the influence of customer requests.

Contact: Dipl.-Ing Nils Warmeling; Mandy Paschetag, M.Sc.; Natalie Schwerdtfeger, M.Sc.; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Scholl

Sustainable production of high solid content wall paint by changing from batch to continuous production

Förderung: Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt
Förderkennzeichen: 32590
Laufzeit: 01.10.2015 - 30.09.2018

Together with our project partner AURO Pflanzenchemie AG a new sustainable production process for high solid content wall paint is researched. Today the process is operated batch-wise. By transferring it to continuous mode the manufacturing process is supposed to turn out more energy and resource efficient, ergonomic and quality assured. Parameters need to be identified and quantified, that allow this quality assuring continuous operation. Subsequently the advantageousness of the new concept over today’s is demonstrated and quantified by comparing the calculations of the processes’ ecological balances. To reach these objectives experimental and theoretical work is necessary. The work is split into single work packages, leading from analysing today’s process over building a pilot plant to ecological, economic and social comparison of the processes. In case of a successful feasibility study at the end of the project, in which it is shown that the continuous production of high solid content wall paint is possible, our project partner can decide to change the process. Thus, the attainable environmental relief by changing from batch-wise to continuous operation can then be calculated and realized by our project partner.

Contact: Natalie Schwerdtfeger, M.Sc.

Research projects finished during the last 5 years

  last changed 22.07.2019
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