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Master Thesis - Solar energy in industrial water and waste water management


AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) was founded in 1988 as an inde-pendent research association and is now one of the leading institutes for applied research in the fields of solar thermal energy, low-energy and zero energy buildings as well as in energy efficiency in industry. Besides these energy related topics also sustainable water manage-ment is a focus area, whereas process intensification technologies such as the membrane distillation and the oscillatory flow bioreactor are applied.


The change to a sustainable, resource- and energy-efficient industry represents a major chal-lenge in the coming years. The efficient supply of energy, the best possible integration of re-newable energy sources and the recovery of resources in the sense of circular economy must go hand in hand. The use of solar process heat represents a large, but so far largely un-used, potential in industry.
This master thesis is embedded into the IEA SHC Task 62 - Solar energy in industrial water and waste water management - and will profit from exchange and communication within an international network of experts on solar energy and (waste) water treatment. The IEA SHC Task 62 builds on results from the IEA SHC Task 49/IV in order to deal with the possibilities, challenges and advantages of integrating solar thermal energy into wastewater treatment in an industrial context. The nexus between solar thermal energy and water treatment enables the development of new and innovative technology combinations and the change to a sus-tainable, resource- and energy-efficient industry.

This master thesis will be embedded into the framework of IEA SHC Task 62 and comprises following content:

Analysis of separation technologies and integration points in industry
  • Define Key Performance Indicators (e.g. separation rate, flux, energy demand etc.)
  • Define requirements for separation technologies (focus Membrane Distillation) on thermal energy supply – temperature etc. - and define of evaluation criteria
  • Identification of industry sectors and process for implementing solar driven separa-tion technologies
Evaluation of separation technologies (focus Membrane Distillation)
  • Evaluation matrix for integrating MD in combination with solar thermal energy in dif-ferent industrial sectors/-processes
  • Define advantages, disadvantages, barriers
  • Define adaptations to assist integration of solar thermal driven separation technolo-gies via
        o System optimization (adaptions in operation, storage etc.)
        o Technological optimization with focus on membranes (membranes adapted to system requirements, new
           membrane materials etc.)
Integration concepts & Decision Making
  • Defining generic integration concepts for combining solar thermal collectors with processes for water treatment
  • Consider integration alternatives (e.g. waste heat, renewables like heat pumps, stor-ages) in hydraulic concepts
  • Define structure for decision making criteria and parameter
The methodology within the master thesis will be defined as followed:
  1. Literature research (national and international studies, papers, etc.)
  2. Communication within the international network of Task 62
  3. Collecting Best-Practice examples
  4. Evaluation and summarizing of available data based on project results
  5. Testing different membrane materials- and structures within the technological opti-mization in laboratory (design of experiments, conducting tests, analysis results)
  6. Setting up an multi-criteria evaluation matrix
  7. Elaborating generic integration concepts
  8. Results presentation
We request…

Thesis written in English
Solution-oriented, creative, independent and reliable operation-mode
Desirable: knowledge of process engineering, knowledge of mass and energy balances, knowledge of practical lab work, results evaluation
We offer...
  • Paid thesis
  • Integration into ongoing project
  • Exchange in an international expert network
  • Start: September 2020
  • Duration: 6 month
  • Location: AEE INTEC Gleisdorf
DI Christoph Brunner                                                 DI Sarah Meitz
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien                   AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19                                    A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19
Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-470, Fax: DW 18                      Tel.: +43 (0)3112 5886-451, Fax: DW 18
E-Mail: c.brunner@aee.at                                            E-Mail: s.meitz@aee.at