Protocol report on the online workshop "Requirements for selective desalination in practice"

On 07.03.2022, the online workshop "Requirements for Selective Desalination in Practice" took place as part of the BMBF-funded innovatION joint project in the funding measure Water Technologies: Reuse, the online workshop "Requirements for Selective Desalination in Practice" took place. After the welcome address by the moderator, Prof. Dr.-Ing. André Lerch from the Chair of Process Engineering in Hydrosystems at TU Dresden, the objectives of the workshop were presented. As a selective desalination plant is being developed within innovatION, further requirements and areas of application in practice as well as further questions regarding selective desalination are to be compiled together within the workshop with the 42 participants from research, industry and politics, which are to receive attention within the research project. Prof. Lerch presented the concept of selective desalination of innovatION: "In conventional desalination processes, polyvalent ions such as calcium and magnesium are removed first, or full desalination is carried out, in which case subsequent mineralisation must be carried out for treatment into drinking water or for use in irrigation. In contrast, monoselective membrane capacitive deionisation (mMCDI) aims to remove only monovalent ions, such as sodium, chloride and nitrate, from saline waters by using selective membranes." At the beginning of the workshop, Dr. Heiko Schwegmann from the project management organisation Karlsruhe and Dr. Christina Jungfer from DECHEMA gave their greetings and pointed out the importance and promotion of desalination for Germany as well as in a global context.After the introduction, the practical partners of innovatION, Dr. Jan Kolja Hesse from the Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband and Joachim Oltmann from the Kreisverband für Wasserwirtschaft Nienburg, demonstrated their need for utilisation-oriented water treatment due to increasing water withdrawals and simultaneously decreasing groundwater quality and quantity. Ron Jong from the KWR Water Research Institute as an associated partner then presented water treatment and desalination concepts in the Netherlands. The subsequent discussion once again showed the national as well as the international need for efficient solutions to remove monovalent ions such as sodium, chloride and nitrate, but also per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are difficult to degrade.In the afternoon of the workshop, discussions were held in smaller groups in three parallel discussion forums on practical applications with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lerch (TU Dresden, Chair of Process Engineering in Hydrosystems), selective process engineering and materials with Dr. Meier-Haack (Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden e.V.) and sustainability with Dr. Scope (TU Dresden, Chair of Business Administration, esp. Sustainability Management and Operational Environmental Economics). Like at a round table, the participants from the different areas were able to express their ideas, concerns and questions, which were summarised with the help of a digital pinboard.Digitally, too, with the support of a sweet motivational package and online communication tools, a joint practical exchange with many participants from different fields on selective desalination could be carried out.


Invitation to the Workshop on 7 March 2022

We would like to invite you to the workshop "Requirements for selective desalination in practice" on 07 March 2022 as part of the BMBF-funded joint project innovatION to discuss the need and implementation of selective desalination. In addition to keynote speeches from practice and research, there will also be discussion forums in which you are invited to actively participate.


Testing plant in operation

Finishing our testing plant in laboratory scale is one of the first greater milestones achieved. DEUKUM GmbH manufactured the electrodes and assembled the plant, elkoplan staiger GmbH provided the electrical installation. In January, the plant was delivered to Technische Universität Dresden, Chair of Process Engineering in Hydro Systems. Equipped with a preliminary test cell, the plant is now in operation. Two separate sections of measurement prior and subsequent to the cell allow the monitoring of several parameters, e. g. electrical conductivity, pH, temperature and pressure during the experiments. For a later analysis, all collected data is logged automatically. The implemented control from elkoplan staiger GmbH allows operating the plant either on site or by remote connection. Besides the laboratory experiments, new monoselective MCDI-Cells are being developed and manufactured. Those cells will be tested in future laboratory experiments to evaluate their performance. The results and findings help to develop and build the test plant in pilot scale and define operational parameters for it.


WavE II-Cross-cutting issues

Overview of cross-cutting issues WavE-II:- Analytics, Monitoring, Surveillance (Ruhl/Helmecke) - first online meeting: 1 December 2021- Digitalisation (Weng/Track) - first online meeting: 18 January 2022- Technologies and processes (Lerch/Wintgens) - first online meeting: 19 January 2022- Implementation of projects (Drewes/Ante): first online meeting: 1 February 2022- Evaluation (Donner/Sievers) - first online meeting: 28 March 2022


Quarterly meeting

On 28.09.2021, the project leaders of the individual work packages of innovatION met online to exchange information about the project's internal progress.


Quarterly meeting

On 19.05.2021, the project leaders of the individual work packages of innovatION met online to exchange information about the project's internal progress.


Kick-off Meeting

innovatION stands for the selective removal of monovalent ions from saline water for groundwater recharge and drinking water supply. This project is funded for 3 years by BMBF and is part of the “Water technologies: water reuse” (german: „Wassertechnologien: Wasserwiederverwendung“, WavE) network. innovatION is a joint project of nine national partners and two international associated partners. The Chair of Process Engineering in Hydro Systems (Technische Universität Dresden) is responsible for the project coordination and is collaborating close with the Chair of Business Management, esp. Sustainability Management and Environmental Accounting of the TU Dresden, to investigate the selective retention of water substances and to elaborate the efficiency and sustainability of the process. On 19 February 2021, the project started with a virtual Kick-off Meeting involving the project partner and sponsors.










Saline surface water or saline groundwater will be filled into the mMCDI via a user-specific pre-treatment. Here, only the monovalent ions pass through the nanofiltration membrane and thus adsorb at the cathode or anode. The polyvalent ions remain in the solution, which can then be used as drinking water or for groundwater recharge. References:

Ayers, R. S. & Westcot, D. W., 1985. Water quality for agriculture. FAO Irrigation and Drainage, 29, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome.

Bazargan, A. & Salgado B., 2018. Fundamentals of Desalination Technology. In: Bazargan, A. (Ed.). A Multidisciplinary Introduction to Desalination, River Publishers, 41-66.

Martens, S. & Wichmann, K., 2005. In: Lozan, J.L., Grassl, H., Hupfer, P., Menzel, L. & Schönewiese, C.-D. (Eds). Warnsignal Klima: Genug Wasser für alle? Wissenschaftliche Fakten. 126−130.

Trinkwasserverordnung – TrinkwV, 2001. Verordnung über die Qualität von Wasser für den menschlichen Gebrauch. updated 2018.

Wiederhold H. & Elbracht J., 2013. Salzwasserintrusion – Gefahr für unser Trinkwasser? In: GEOFOKUS. Geowissenschaftliche Mitteilungen, 52.

WWAP (UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme), 2012. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2012: Leaving No One Behind. Paris, UNESCO. 1-16.

WWAP (UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme), 2019. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2019: Leaving No One Behind. Paris, UNESCO. 1-9.




Press release from OOWV

OOWV practical partner in nationwide research project Extracting salts from water - and enriching groundwater Langeoog/In Nord west. Falling groundwater levels and increasing salinization of groundwater are challenges of the present and consequences of climate change. Solutions are the focus of a nationwide research project with the participation of the Oldenburg-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband (OOWV) under the leadership of the Technical University of Dresden. Therefore, a pilot plant will be installed in the Langeoog waterwork for eight months from the end of 2022. In particular, it will remove sodium and chloride from the groundwater near the coast in order to subsequently infiltrate it again for the purpose of groundwater recharge. The aim is to develop special membranes for this process, through which the water can be purified accordingly. "It won't be of drinking water quality afterwards," reports Yannick Tiemann, project manager on the OOWV side, "but it can be fed into the groundwater body afterwards." It is also conceivable that the treated water could be used for industrial purposes, thus conserving drinking water resources. There is still a long way to go before the first concrete results are available - the research project entitled "innovatION" is at its beginning. Initial results are expected in 2024. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. "During the eight-month pilot phase at the Langeoog waterwork, we will be responsible for supervising the plant and taking samples of different waters - meaning groundwater, process water and water from the pilot plant. We share the samples and the results obtained from them with the project partners for laboratory tests," describes Yannick Tiemann. "Due to the globally increasing demand for water and the decreasing availability of freshwater resources, there is a worldwide interest in efficient desalination processes," states the "innovatION" project description of the TU Dresden. "We are pleased to be one of the two practical partners, along with the Kreisverband für Wasserwirtschaft Nienburg," says the OOWV project manager.He has also already been involved in "MULTI-ReUse," a water reuse process in which treated wastewater is further processed to make it available to local industry. Here, the plans for a large-scale plant with its own supply network in Nordenham are concrete. The plant will save around one million cubic meters of drinking water per year. After all, not every industrial process requires the valuable water in drinking water quality.


Press release on the "innovatION" research project

Research project develops sustainable, membrane-based water desalination processDue to the globally increasing demand for water and the decreasing availability of freshwater resources, there is a worldwide interest in efficient desalination processes. Freshwater that is influenced by the sea or by geogenic, i.e. natural, underground salt deposits often has high concentrations of sodium and chloride. High nitrate and sulphate concentrations usually result from agricultural influence. "Conventional desalination processes desalinate water completely and usually do not distinguish which salts are retained," explains Prof. Dr.-Ing. André Lerch, professor of the chair of process engineering in hydrosystems and coordinator of the innovatION joint project. "However, a complete desalination of the waters is often not useful, but only a reduction of the monovalent, singly charged ions."The aim of the innovatION research project is to develop an energy-efficient selective membrane-based desalination process for the targeted removal of monovalent ions from saline groundwater and surface water, and to examine potential applications and areas of use, taking into account water chemistry, economic and ecological aspects.innovatION stands for Selective Removal of Monovalent Ions from Saline Waters for Groundwater Recharge and Drinking Water Treatment. The joint project will be funded over the next three years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF within the funding measure "Water Technologies: Water Reuse". innovatION brings together nine national partners from practice and science as well as two international associated partners. Within the framework of innovatION, selective membranes for specific retention of monovalent salts are being developed and installed in newly designed modules for use in an electrochemical process in laboratory and pilot plants. The plants will be used to carry out investigations to identify optimised process and plant parameters depending on different raw water qualities and treatment targets. The resulting effects and challenges for the different raw waters will be examined. The developed technology will be compared with international targets such as the sustainability goals using a holistic economic-ecological sustainability assessment in order to derive recommendations for action.By choosing partners from industry, science and practice, the consortium is able to build plants and test and evaluate the innovative technology on site with practical partners. Young scientists can be involved in cooperation and exchange with international scientists at an early stage. The results thus contribute significantly to securing water resources and further education, both nationally and internationally.



Poster presentation at ProcessNet conference

From 16 to 18 of March the annual conference of "ProcessNet Fachgruppen Computational Fluid Dynamics, Mischvorgänge und Agglomerations- und Schüttguttechnik", which is organized with the DECHEMA, took place in Leipzig. Besides talks and presentations from attendees regarding fundamental science or industrial scale applications, the innovatION project was also represented by David Schödel. For the "Computational Fluid Dynamics" group a poster from a prior Master Thesis, describing the approaches to our mMCDI model was presented and discussed.


Presentation at the conference of the Fachsektion Hydrogeologie e. V. of the DGGV

From March 23rd to March 25th 2022, the conference of the Fachsektion Hydrogeologie e. V. of the DGGV (Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft – Geologische Vereinigung) took place online, with the main topic "Groundwater - Climate - Society", in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena. In the session "Artificial and natural groundwater reacharge" the PhD student Laura Bräunig and the Master student Mareike Schloo, Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, could present their first results from the project "innovatION" on the geochemical interactions during the infiltration of a monovalent-partially desalinated water into dune sediments of the East Frisian island Langeoog in two posters and flash talks. Likewise, the meeting showed the increasing interest in research on methods and techniques for groundwater protection and understanding of groundwater quality, as well as processes during infiltration through the vadose zone. This reinforces the motivation of the "innovatION" project for the development of a monovalent-selective membrane and the importance of understanding geochemical reactions during artificial groundwater recharge with product water.


Poster for the kick-off event of the BMBF funding measure of WavE

innovatION is a joint project which is focused on the development of a sustainable treatment and utilization of saline groundwater of the WavE-Network ( of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.In July 2021 all WavE-Partners came together for a launch event. The goal and content of innovatION were presented with the following three posters.


Presentation at the WavE kick-off event

innovatION is a joint project which is focused on the development of a sustainable treatment and utilization of saline groundwater of the WavE-Network ( of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.In July 2021 all WavE-Partners came together for the WavE kick-off event. Hereby, Prof. Dr.-Ing. André Lerch presented the contents and goals of innovatION.