Water Treatment and Materials Separation

Freshwater makes up less than 3% of the world's available water, of which less than 1% is accessible for the human use. Due to the growing global population and with its increasing water demand, it becomes imperative to begin tapping into the saline water sources to meet the challenge. Against this background, Fraunhofer ISE has built up expertise in this field and offers R&D services on the topics below:


Water Energy Nexus


Membrane Technology



Water is the most consumed natural resource by the population of 7 billion planet Earth hosts. Reckless use and disposal of this precious resource could soon make it sparse and unfit for any means of consumption. At Fraunhofer ISE, we work towards finding energy efficient and sustainable means to treat non-potable water and recycle reject water, thereby helping to close the gap between water consumption and water replenishment. Research, consulting and development are taken up by the »Group Water Treatment and Separation« on topics ranging from analysis and selection of water treatment technology all the way up to module development and construction.

Given a wide array of subjects we cover, our primary focus lies on water energy nexus projects, mineral and fluid recovery from reject water and membrane technology. The water energy nexus (WEN) subset of the water group is a byproduct of our long-standing expertise and know-how on renewable energy driven desalination, energy water systems and development of autonomous water treatment modules. In the recent past, we have started taking up projects addressing fluid and mineral recovery from reject water in mining and chemical industries, which as of today is another subset of our group activities. Equipped with state of the art membrane testing facilities for ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis as well as technological the top position in the field of membrane distillation, our group conducts tests, simulations, analysis and develops membranes for water treatment and separation applications.

On this topic from our research blog »Innovation4E«:

Innovative methods for solar water treatment

Blog post by Joachim Koschikowski

Dr. Joachim KoschikowskiJust after the end of the summer holidays, many people have happy memories of their beach holiday. For the local population, however, seawater unfortunately often doesn’t mean enough water. At least not water that is suitable for use by people. Salt, pollutants and wastewater make this raw material that is essential to life impure. Researchers at Fraunhofer ISE – including myself – have been working for many years to develop innovative methods for solar water treatment.

Read more on blog.innovation4e.de

Selected Research Projects



Raw Material Extraction from Seawater Brines


From Chile Saltpetre to Solar Salt

Design and Evaluation of the Continuous Operation of a Production Process of Pure Sodium Nitrate from Brines of an Upstream Leaching Process



Resource Recovery from Industrial Waste Water by Cutting Edge Membrane Technologies

Joachim Koschikowski

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Joachim Koschikowski

Membrane Technology, Water Energy Nexus

Fraunhofer ISE
Heidenhofstr. 2
79110 Freiburg

Phone +49 761 4588-5294

Joachim Went

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Joachim Went

Water Energy Nexus, Mineral Extraction and Fluid Recovery

Fraunhofer ISE
Heidenhofstr. 2
79110 Freiburg

Phone +49 761 4588-5240

Daniel Winter

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Daniel Winter

Membrane Technology, Mineral Extraction and Fluid Recovery

Fraunhofer ISE
Heidenhofstr. 2
79110 Freiburg

Phone +49 761 4588-5353

Selected Publications


YearTitle/AuthorDocument Type
2021An integrated approach for the HCl and metals recovery from waste pickling solutions: Pilot plant and design operations
Gueccia, R.; Winter, D.; Randazzo, S.; Cipollina, A.; Koschikowski, J.; Micale, G.D.M.
Journal Article
2021Optimization of water management plans for CSP plants through simulation of water consumption and cost of treatment based on operational data
Rohani, S.; Went, J.; Duvenhage, D.F.; Gerards, R.; Wittwer, C.; Fluri, T.
Journal Article
2021The potential of raw material extraction from thermal brines - Successful milestones of the BrineMine project
Goldberg, V.; Winter, D.; Nietschke, F.; Rath, M.; Held, S.; Spitzmüller, L.; Budach, I.; Pavez, M.; Morata, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Kohl, T.
Journal Article
2021PVDF Composite Membranes with Hydrophobically-Capped CuONPs for Direct-Contact Membrane Distillation
Saldías, C.; Terraza, C.A.; Leiva, A.; Koschikowski, J.; Winter, D.; Tundidor-Camba, A.; Martin-Trasanco, R.
Journal Article
2021Selective silica removal in geothermal fluids: Implications for applications for geothermal power plant operation and mineral extraction
Spitzmüller, L.; Goldberg, V.; Held, S.; Grimmer, J.C.; Winter, D.; Genovese, M.; Koschikowski, J.; Kohl, T.
Journal Article
2020Brines from industrial water recycling: new ways to resource recovery
Kieselbach, M.; Hogen, T.; Geißen, S.-U.; Track, T.; Becker, D.; Rapp, H.-J.; Koschikowski, J.; Went, J.; Horn, H.; Saravia, F.; Bauer, A.; Schwantes, R.; Pfeifle, D.; Heyn, N.; Weissroth, M.; Fitzke, B.
Journal Article
2019Application of direct contact membrane distillation for saline dairy effluent treatment: Performance and fouling analysis
Abdelkader, S.; Gross, F.; Winter, D.; Went, J.; Koschikowski, J.; Geissen, S.U.; Bousselmi, L.
Journal Article
2019Characterization and Assessment of a Novel Plate and Frame MD Module for Single Pass Wastewater Concentration-FEED Gap Air Gap Membrane Distillation
Schwantes, Rebecca; Seger, Jakob; Bauer, Lorenz; Winter, Daniel; Hogen, Tobias; Koschikowski, Joachim; Geißen, Sven-Uwe
Journal Article
2019Experimental parametric study of membrane distillation unit using solar energy
Zarzoum, K.; Zhani, K.; Ben Bacha, H.; Koschikowski, J.
Journal Article
2019Nexus approach to solar technology for energy and water supply for sustainable rural development in Egypt: A review
Wydra, K.; Jaskolski, M.; Wagner, L.; Mohamed, E.S.
Journal Article
2018Techno-economic comparison of membrane distillation and MVC in a zero liquid discharge application
Schwantes, R.; Chavan, K.; Winter, D.; Felsmann, C.; Pfafferott, J.
Journal Article
2017Comparative analysis of full-scale membrane distillation contactors - methods and modules
Winter, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Gross, F.; Maucher, D.; Düver, D.; Jositz, M.; Mann, T.; Hagedorn, A.
Journal Article
2017Membrane and spacer evaluation with respect for future module design in membrane distillation
Hagedorn, A.; Fieg, G.; Winter, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Grabowski, A.; Mann, T.
Journal Article
2017Methodical design and operation of membrane distillation plants for desalination
Hagedorn, A.; Fieg, G.; Winter, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Mann, T.
Journal Article
2016Autonomous solar powered membrane distillation systems: State of the art
Zhani, K.; Zarzoum, K.; Ben Bacha, H.; Koschikowski, J.; Pfeifle, D.
Journal Article
2016CPV-T Mirror Dish System Combined with Water Desalination Systems
Wiesenfarth, M.; Went, J.; Bösch, A.; Dilger, A.; Kec, T.; Kroll, A.; Koschikowsi, J.; Bett, A.W.
Conference Paper
2016Industrielle Membrandestillationsanlage mit integrierter Energierückgewinnung zur effizienten Nutzung von Abwärme
Hagedorn, A.; Fieg, G.; Koschikowski, J.; Mann, T.
Journal Article
2015Renewable energy desalination: Performance analysis and operating data of existing RES desalination plants
Cipollina, A.; Tzen, E.; Subiela, V.; Papapetrou, M.; Koschikowski, J.; Schwantes, R.; Wieghaus, M.; Zaragoza, G.
Journal Article
2014Solar unit for air conditioning and desalination: Theoretical and experimental investigation of the desiccant wheel
Guidara, Z.; Morgenstern, A.; Schossig, P.; Bacha, H.B.
Journal Article
2013Evaluation of MD process performance: Effect of backing structures and membrane properties under different operating conditions
Winter, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Düver, D.; Hertel, P.; Beuscher, U.
Journal Article
2013Membrane distillation: Solar and waste heat driven demonstration plants for desalination
Schwantes, R.; Cipollina, A.; Gross, F.; Koschikowski, J.; Pfeifle, D.; Rolletschek, M.; Subiela, V.
Journal Article
This publication list has been generated from the publication database Fraunhofer-Publica.

News / 27.3.2017

Recycling Industrial Wastewater: Fraunhofer ISE Participates in Joint Project HighCon

To secure water availability on an economic and ecological level, the importance of reusing community and industrial wastewater and process fluids is becoming more and more evident.